Carlos Slim defends Mexico City airport project

Businessman Carlos Slim claimed the new airport project will boost the social and economic development of Mexico City; Moody's cautions project cancellation “would have negative credit implications for the sector"
Carlos Slim defends Mexico City airport project
Carlos Slim – Photo: Eduardo Verdugo/AP
17/04/2018
11:45
Newsroom
Mexico City
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Businessman Carlos Slim defended yesterday the construction of the New International Airport of Mexico City (NAIM), a project which will “boost development in the area and the entire city” of Mexico and whose importance he compared to that of the Panama Canal. 

During a press conference this Monday, Slim stated that the project will promote social and economic development and offer job opportunities for the people living in the area who currently have to commute long hours to their workplaces.

The NAIM has been the source of heated debate as some claim the project is bound to sink, given the qualities of the soil it is being built on.

Front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), presidential candidate of the “Together We'll Make History” coalition, is one of those voices opposing the project and has grounded his claims on studies by the Institute of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He has even launched a comic book stating why the construction of the new airport should be stopped.

“When they adduce the airport will sink, of course, it will sink, like the entire Valley of Mexico [will sink],” replied Slim during the conference.

The mogul said the sinking problem of Mexico City is due to the exploitation of the underground aquifer. He added that over 40% of rainwater is currently being wasted and that infiltration basins should be built to collect it and resupply the underground water bodies.

Moreover, he established the debate shouldn't focus on the cost of the project, given it “isn't a car,” but rather on the positive impact of said investment will have for Mexico.

Slim has the construction contract of the NAIM, which was designed by architect Fernando Romero, son-in-law of the businessman.

For their part, Moody's Investors Service has stated that the cancellation of the new airport project “would have negative credit implications for the sector.”

“The new airport would provide the Mexico City Airport Trust with additional available cash flow for debt service due to added capacity and expected passenger traffic growth,” reads Moody's report, available in English.

The agency also highlighted that the total air traffic in Mexico increased 60% between 2012 and 2017, reason why airport companies expect the trend to continue.

The new airport is scheduled to open in 2020.

With information of Antonio Hernández

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