After voters in Mexico called for the abandonment of the partially-built, $13 billion airport project near Mexico City Monday, giants in the aviation and travel industries are speaking out against the decision.
According to Expansion.mx, officials from Copa Airlines, Avianca and Latam Airlines said the operations between Mexico City, Toluca and Santa Lucia would be difficult and the carriers may have to make wholesale changes to better serve the country.
Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced the results of the four-day vote, which only drew around one million people to the polls. While less than one percent of the residents in the country voted, 69 percent of those who did said the construction of the airport at Lake Texcoco should stop and a nearby military airbase should be transformed to accommodate civilian transportation.
Lopez Obrador said the existing construction site could be transformed into a large ecological, sports and recreational park for the inhabitants of Mexico City and the metropolitan area, according to Reportur.com.
Airlines serving the region want the construction of the new airport to continue, especially with the cancellation of the project expected to cost about 120 billion pesos. The carriers also want to see a single airport that contains all of the necessary connections and infrastructure to accommodate the massive number of passengers arriving in Mexico City each year.
The alternative plan would call for the government to add public terminals and two runways to the existing Santa Lucia military airport, which is north of Mexico City. Lopez Obrador claims the decision to scrap construction and use the air force base would save the country 100 billion pesos.
The Citibanamex group told Vanguardia the projected costs of canceling the current project in Texcoco is underestimated, saying the decision will hurt the country’s financial stability. The results of the vote already resulted in a sharp drop in the Mexican currency and stock market Monday.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also released a statement saying the organization was disappointed by the vote to stop the Texcoco airport project, saying it would impact the long-term economic growth of Mexico.
“The construction of the airport is a priority of the Mexican State that transcends any political context or electoral contest and must be supported from all sectors,” an IATA spokesperson said in a statement.
IATA officials also said the cancellation of the new airport would mean an estimated loss of $20 billion that the aviation industry would have continued to Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
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