A public vote has been called to determine the future of Foster + Partners’ $13.3 billion New Mexico City International Airport project
If people vote to continue it, the government could resort to a mix of public and private financing to save taxpayers money.
But if people vote to cancel it, the government would continue to use the existing airport and repurpose an old military airbase in Santa Lucia south of the capital.
Mexico’s president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced a nationwide referendum on the contentious project, which he described as a ‘bottomless pit’ and beset with corruption.
Speaking to a press conference, the president-elect said: ‘The plan is to provide the Mexican people with all the relevant information, truthfully and objectively, so that we can all decide together on this important matter of national interest.’
Originally planned to complete in 2018, the ambitious project has been on site for the past three years and is scheduled to see its first phase complete in 2020.
The scheme provides for up to 66 million passengers a year and replaces the Mexican capital’s existing city-centre airport nearby, which receives millions more passengers every year that it was designed to handle.
Foster + Partners’ winning scheme – designed in collaboration with Fernando Romero Enterprise and Netherlands Airport Consultants – features an enormous lightweight gridshell roof about three times larger than the span of a conventional airport terminal building.
If approved, the first phase of the new airport featuring the terminal and three runways will open in 2020. Later phases would deliver an additional main terminal, two satellite terminals, and up to six runways in total.