UPDATE: Obrador’s stupid, illegal, illegitimate “consultation” where around a million people participated has finished with 70% of those who voted opting to throw four billion dollars into the trash and starting from scratch. *Muffled screams*

He insist the new project, which involves retrofitting a military base with two new runways, a new highway and civilian infrastructure, will cost three billion dollars. a significant saving over the 16 billion that the new airport is expected to cost.

Ive probably stressed this enough, but Mexico has a new President. One of his biggest bones to pick is with the New Mexico City airport.

Fun fact: Benito Juarez Airport used to have five landing strips, but three were given away to the communities settling near the aiport

Now, I have to agree with the President Elect on why the new project sucks: it’s very expensive, the land purchases were mostly illegal, and it’s an enviromental risk to an area mostly free of huge slabs of cement.

So, it’s big, it’s stupid, it’s outdated even before going on sale, and it’s expensive but it was kept alive for corporate reasons. Lets call it the Jeep XK of public infrastructure.

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It’s also kind of pointless; Mexico has historically relied heavily on a Hub-and-Spoke model that is going away. It’s why Mexico City Airport currently handles a third of all air traffic in Mexico. However, the aviation market is starting to diversify, Cancun already handles 17%, Monterrey handles 7%, and it’s worth keeping in mind that Mexico City airport is mostly a transfer airport for international toursts.

Yes, the current aiport is at maximum capacity, but lets also keep in mind that Mexico has hundreds of modern airports, and as aviation swiches to point to point, I doubt tourists will want to come to Mexico City and then take a transfer to a beach or something. Neither would airlines with smaller, more efficient jets want to pay the astronomical landing fees at Mexico City Airport.

However, the airport is already under construction. All the land they needed to level has been leveled and billions of Pesos have already been invested in this airport. It’s (ironically) emblematic of economic and governatorial stability, it gives foreign investors some piece of mind about investing here, at least compared to other Latin American nations.

So I must dissagree with stoping it. His plan to keep up with the aviation boom is to diversify traffic to Toluca airport (TLC), Queretaro Airport (QRO) and to recondition Santa Lucia Airforce Base (NLU) as a civilan airport serving alongside Mexico City airport.

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It’s not uncommon for cities overwhelmed by air traffic to open various airports, Paris, London, and New York City airports are good examples of how airports can co-exist inside cities. He’s also bang on with the diversification of air travel and how everyone is moving away from a hub-and-spoke model. Perhaps its slower here, but jumbo jet sales across the world are down, and if this airport is to serve tourists, well, it makes sense to listen to that.

But stopping this project now is kind of stupid: So much money has been sank in it that Obrador’s plan is likely more expensive than finishing this airport, many organizations in Mexico have said it would wreck havoc with the Mexican Peso and that support for his idea is sort of diminishing.

Light Green: NLU, Dark Red: New Mexico City airport proposed location. Blue: Current airport location

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Yet he’s very stubburn, so he’s sponsoring a national vote on the airport before taking office. People shouldn’t have a say about the airport in my opinion because when they voted for Peña Nieto six years ago they wanted the new airport and it was one of his campaign promises. The public can be shortsighted, which is why key infrastructure decisions require a consistency and thoughtfulness that the voting public doesn’t have. It’s not official either, so our voting rights are not taken into consideration, and it promises blatant fraud given how hastaly organized it is. But it likely doesn’t matter anyway. Obrador will do as he sees fit.