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Santa Lucía airport will be ‘white elephant,’ warns business group

Project is based on 'fantasies' and 'good wishes' rather than good planning: Canacintra

The Santa Lucía airport will become a “white elephant” in just “a few years,” according to the leader of a business group who claims that President López Obrador’s decision to build it was made on a “whim.”

Speaking out after a federal judge overturned one of eight suspension orders against the US $4.8-billion project, the president of the National Chamber for Industrial Transformation (Canacintra), José Enoch Castellanos, declared at a press conference on Tuesday that “we disagree” with the construction of the airport.

He called for “common sense” to prevail before public money is spent on the project, claiming that the airport won’t generate any “added value” for Mexico.

“There’s no point having strict austerity and even cutting jobs if the money [saved] is going to be invested in a black hole that will have no use,” Castellanos said.

The Canacintra chief claimed that the project is based on “fantasies” and “good wishes” rather than good planning as occurs for infrastructure projects in countries such as Singapore and China.

“I have no doubt that projects like the [Isthmus of Tehuantepec] interoceanic corridor, which has been analyzed for years, can represent opportunity for Mexico,” Castellano asserted, adding that the same can’t be said about the Santa Lucía airport.

López Obrador made the decision to build the airport at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base in México state after canceling the previous government’s partially-built airport project at Texcoco.

The cancelation came after a controversial and legally-questionable public consultation last October that found almost 70% support to terminate construction of the new Mexico City International Airport.

Gustavo de Hoyos, president of the Mexican Employers Federation, said at the time that killing the airport project would be “the biggest waste of public resources in the history of the country.”

But López Obrador claimed that the project was corrupt, too expensive and being built on land that was sinking.

It is expected that around 18 million passengers will use the Santa Lucía airport in its first year of operations but its planned capacity is for 100 million passengers annually, although little detail has been provided to show how that will be achieved.

An official report released in April said the facility could reach saturation just 10 years after starting operations.

López Obrador announced the same month that construction would begin on April 29 but commencement has been delayed due to legal action filed against it by a collective that believes that reviving the Texcoco project is “legally possible.”

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