Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday symbolically started work on a new airport for Mexico City to replace the nearly half-built US$13 billion project he cancelled upon taking office.
López Obrador said that, it is going to resolve the problem of saturation at the current Mexico City airport, but also be an example of how they can carry out a rational, austere policy based on honesty that needs to establish itself as the way to live and the way to govern in their country.
The new airport named for a general allied with revolutionary icon Pancho Villa is at the Santa Lucia military air base and the army is in charge of getting it built for $4.1 billion. It is supposed to begin operating in mid-2021, though construction has not yet begun. Two new runways would be added to its existing one and the commercial airport would share the space with the military.
The biggest concern raised in the report has to do with water. The airport would consume an estimated 6 million liters (1.6 million gallons) per day from an already severely overtaxed aquifer that the capital depends on, and that’s not including consumption from hotels and other businesses that will spring up around it, the report said.
Three existing wells on the air base should provide enough water, but that is expected to lower the water table in the aquifer, so some wells could go dry. The report says that could be mitigated by creating recharge zones in the area to put water back into the aquifer. Another possibility would be bringing water from another, less-stressed aquifer.
The new airport would connect to the existing one via a 28-mile (46 kilometer) route with dedicated bus lanes to speed passengers to their connecting flights. About 5 miles of that route would actually be along a perimeter road built for the now-cancelled airport at Texcoco.