Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Videos reveal near-completed Mexico City airport; ‘It’s not a disaster,’ says journalist

Four months before the new Mexico City airport begins operations, would-be users can get a feel for the new facility thanks to video footage posted to social media by a well known journalist.

Television, radio and print journalist Manuel López San Martín posted a series of videos to Twitter that show various parts of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) including its terminal building and control tower.

Built by the army on the Santa Lucía Air Force base located about 45 kilometers north of downtown Mexico City in the México state municipality of Zumpango, the airport is slated to begin operations in late March. Budget carrier Volaris announced last month that it would operate services to and from the facility starting March 21, 2022.

Above one video that pans across the exterior of the terminal building, López San Martín wrote that the AIFA “is not the disaster some people are selling.”

He described the 80-billion-peso (US $3.8 billion) airport as an “impressive” and “good-quality” project built in record time.

President López Obrador, who canceled the previous government’s airport project after a legally questionable referendum, inaugurated work on the AIFA in late 2019.

López San Martín claimed that the airport will be a success as long as it has good, cheap and quick land connections to Mexico City. He posted one video that showed construction work on a new road that will link the airport to the capital.

“There are thousands of people working against the clock inside and outside of Santa Lucía,” the journalist wrote.

Another video shows a waiting area and functioning elevators and escalators inside the terminal, while López San Martín shot yet more footage from the 88-meter-high control tower, which was designed to resemble a Náhuatl weapon called a macuahuitl – a wooden club with embedded obsidian blades.

The journalist also published a video that shows a range of other infrastructure and attractions on the airport grounds, including a shopping center, hotel, hospital and a “cultural corridor” with three museums and repurposed historic train cars.

The architect who designed the airport, Francisco González Pulido, said in late 2019 that traveling through it will be a “memorable experience.”

Construction of the facility, which is about 80% complete, is part of a three-pronged plan to ease pressure on the existing Mexico City airport, which was used by 50.3 million passengers in 2019 before air traffic slumped in 2020 due to the pandemic. The federal government is also upgrading the Mexico City airport and that in Toluca, México state.

The AIFA will have an initial capacity of 20 million passengers annually but it could eventually handle up to 80 million.

With reports from El Universal and Reporte Indigo

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