A new airport was opened in the outskirts of Mexico City this week after the government scrapped its former airport project three years ago. The new site has been criticised for being too far away from the city.
A new airport for Mexico City
On Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador opened a new Mexico City airport named Felipe Angeles. Lopez Obrador decided to build this new airport after scrapping the unfinished Texcoco airport project started by the previous government, labelling it “a bottomless pit of corruption”.
The new airport has been built next to Santa Lucia Air Force Base 50km due north of the capital. Is hasty completion means the airport has become operational before proper road and rail links have been established? The government has received heavy criticism over the airport’s location, with one Mexico city resident claiming it took them two hours to drive from the capital.
On its Monday opening this week, around 2000 passengers passed through the new terminal, but the government are hoping for 2.4 million a day by the end of the year. The aim is that the new airport will help ease congestion at Mexico City’s existing Benito Juarez International Airport, and the government has said that any new carriers wanting to fly to the capital will be forced to use Felipe Angeles. However, at present, the new terminal is more popular among cargo flights than passenger jets. Lopez Obrador commented:
“It is just a question of the airlines increasing their flights,”
“In the case of cargo traffic there has been more progress, the [old] Mexico City airport is saturated in cargo, as well.”
Like Lopez Obrador’s other infrastructure projects, the airport has been built by the military. The Airport was named Felipe Angeles International airport after a famous General from the Mexican Revolution in 1910.
Texcoco Airport ditched
The former Texcoco airport, planned to be the third-largest in the world, will now be scrapped for good. Satellite images show the completed runways of what was to be a $13 billion project, built on the waterlogged soil of an ancient lake bed. Lopez Obrador has spent close to $1.8 billion paying back the investors of Texcoco, only adding to the financial losses of the abandoned airport. The Mexican president argues that this is for the better, claiming that the airport was geologically unsound and too expensive.
Lopez Obrador says he will turn the airport into a national park in an attempt to reverse some of the ecological damage caused by its construction. Texcoco is built on the site of old Lake Texcoco, which a hundred years ago was dried up and used for human habitation.