MEXICO CITY – Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday that the New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) project had been cancelled following a referendum in which the “No” vote won.
“The decision is to obey the will of the citizens. As a result, two landing strips will be constructed at the Santa Lucia military airport and the current Mexico City airport will be improved, and the Toluca airport reopened,” the leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) said in a press conference.
Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, said contracts awarded to businesses and investment commitments would be honored.
AMLO, who takes office on Dec. 1, said the will of the approximately 700,000 people who backed the “No” vote on the airport, would be followed.
The president-elect, however, said the “interests of the companies and the investors will be protected.”
Some 1.09 million votes were cast in the referendum on the NAICM project, of which 70 percent supported scrapping the new aviation facility.
“In a short time, we are going to solve the situation at the current Mexico City airport,” the president-elect said.
The federal government will save about 100 billion pesos (some $5.12 billion) by scrapping the NAICM, Lopez Obrador said.
The business community criticized the cancellation of the airport project.
Business Coordinating Council (CCE) president Juan Pablo Castañon said the move sent investors a bad message about doing business in Mexico.
“The message you’re sending to citizens, international markets, businesses and investors is that you can’t be certain that signed contracts will be respected,” Castañon said.
Among the losers in the wake of the cancellation of the $13.3 billion airport project, which was about 30 percent complete, are Spanish companies FCC, Acciona, Sacyr and Aldesa.