The speculation over a new airport for Mexico City has ended with an announcement that confirms much of the speculation.
President Peña Nieto today delivered his second state-of-the-nation address, or Segundo Informe, in which he announced a new 120-billion-peso airport to be built adjacent to the existing facility, which isn’t big enough to handle current traffic volumes.
“(The new airport) will be the biggest infrastructure project in recent years . . . as well as one of the biggest in the world,” the president told an audience of politicians, dignitaries and guests in the National Palace.
It will have six runways and a capacity of 120 million passengers a year, six times that of the existing Benito Juárez International, and is expected to be operational by 2018. Last year’s traffic at the existing airport was a record 31.5 million passengers.
The new airport will be built on land the government already owns, where former President Vicente Fox tried to launch an airport project but met with such violent opposition from machete-wielding farmers that he canceled the project in 2002.
More details of the project are to be announced tomorrow.
Peña Nieto spoke for 90 minutes, with neither notes nor teleprompter, reviewing the progress of the 11 major reforms introduced at the beginning of his administration in 2012, when the major political parties signed the Pact for Mexico to begin the process.
Those reforms have been put in motion thanks to the dialogue among the principal political parties, the president said. He also touched on other issues such as crime and security, reeling off statistics to demonstrate that actions in these areas are having a positive effect, reducing homicides and kidnappings.
Another infrastructure project announced by the president will extend four lines — 4, 9, 12, and A — of Mexico City’s transit system, for a total extension of 43.5 kilometers, expected to benefit 9 million users.