Nature Starts To Reclaim Mexico City’s Canceled New Airport

After nearly three years abandoned, Mexico City’s canceled new airport is starting to show some decay. According to recently published photos, weeds are sprouting from the ground, and water is taking the place of what was supposed to become the flight terminal and control tower. Let’s investigate further.

Mexico City scrapped airport
The scrapped New International Mexico City Airport has been abandoned for almost three years. Photo: Getty Images.

The airport – the lake

In 2018, the current Mexican government decided to cancel the building of Mexico City’s New Airport on the northeast side of the Mexican capital. Instead, they opted to retrofit a military base north of Mexico City and turn it into a commercial/military international airport.

The former airport, also known as Texcoco Airport, was being built in a lake basin. Following the cancelation, the plan has been to let nature take over and transform the once futuristic construction into a giant park.

 

As Reuters reported, the abandoned airport is now part of a project to conserve 12,200 hectares of marsh on what was once the Texcoco Lake. Half of that area will be used to build a public space. It is set to open by 2024, right around the time the New Airport would have begun operations.

For travelers flying out of Mexico City International Airport, the Texcoco airport appears on the left side, like a ghost of a what-if.

Canceled New Mexico City International Airport
Before Santa Lucía, Mexico was building a new airport. It got scrapped after 30% of its completion. Photo: Getty Images

What was lost

If the Texcoco airport had started operations, the current Mexico City International Airport (MEX) would have closed permanently. The idea was that the Texcoco Airport would have been able to receive up to 137 million passengers per year by 2050.

The Texcoco airport was going to give a solution to the current traffic constraints in Mexico City. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, MEX was stretching its operations, congested since 2013. Nowadays, the airport still hasn’t recovered its pre-pandemic numbers, but it is already showing some capacity issues at peak hours.

According to the plan designed by Norman Foster, the British architect commissioned to build the airport, it was to have six runways with parallel landings and departs.

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Where are we now?

The current Mexican government decided that paying for the Texcoco airport was an excess. It scrapped the project and turned its attention on a military base north of Mexico City. The Texcoco airport would have also been the final dagger for the military base, which was set to close.

Currently, the plan is to build a mix commercial/military airport called Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA). It will open up on March 21, 2022. The AIFA will simultaneously work with MEX and Toluca International Airport, west of Mexico City.

At their maximum capacity, the three hubs will receive approximately the same number of passengers that Texcoco would have had by 2050. Nevertheless, the airline industry has doubts regarding the ground connectivity and navigation systems between the three hubs.

Despite opening up in less than six months, only one airline has confirmed its plans of operating out of AIFA. It is not a Mexican carrier but rather the Venezuelan State airline, Conviasa.

The Mexican regional carriers Aeromar and TAR have also shown interest in operating out of the new airport. Nevertheless, none of the leading Mexican airlines (Volaris, Aeromexico, and Viva Aerobus) have confirmed their plans.

Volaris’ CEO, Enrique Beltranena, said yesterday, during the airline’s investors call,

“We are in the process of doing market studies around the AIFA and the market itself. We think that AIFA in itself has a market around the airport and has approximately the same size as other cities like Aguascalientes and Queretaro, for example. So we see some virtues in itself in the population around the airport and probabilities of doing business with that population.”

Nevertheless, Volaris has not accepted that it will operate from AIFA.

What do you think about the controversy in Mexico between both airports? Let us know in the comments.

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