How Mexico City's New Airport Will Boost Travel to Latin America
As more of Latin America becomes appealing to travelers, Mexico City has had to respond to a growing problem: the size of its main airport, Benito Juarez International Airport. The airport handles more than 24 million passengers each year and is Latin America's second-busiest airport, after Sao Paulo. That said, the airport was hardly equipped to handle the volume of passengers that flow through on a daily basis, resulting in delays, pileups and headaches. As Mexico City and Central America open up as leisure destinations to the North American market and beyond, President Enrique Pena Nieto has put forth plans to address the problem with the construction of the new International Airport of Mexico City.
The Current Problem
Currently operational saturation of Benito Juarez significantly restricts its ability to grow and become more competitive. This not only impacts the flow of passengers, but also affects the movement of goods. Although Mexico City has a strategic location for connecting passenger flow between North America, Europe and Asia, the current airport is not able to compete with the best infrastructure of other airports on the continent, the Mexico Tourism Board says.
The Mexican Institute of Transportation estimates that in 2015, Benito Juarez could have up to 18 planes waiting for takeoff, implying 20-minute delays on average. Benito Juarez has reached its technical limits of operation and can only serve 32 million passengers a year.
The new airport will be located six miles from the existing airport. On the ground it will fit six runways, with the capacity to support the entire demand for the airport area. In the first phase, three parallel tracks will open, with a capacity for more than 50 million passengers annually. The second phase will unveil the final runways and increase the airport capacity to 120 million passengers per year.
President Pena Nieto says that the new airport will bring economic, social and environmental benefits.
"Only the construction will have a significant economic impact across the country, and will also be a great source of employment for the families of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico," the president said in a statement. "It is estimated that the construction process directly or indirectly will employ more than 160,000 people."
"No doubt, another great benefit of the airport will be the impetus to tourism in Mexico," he continues. "There will be more airlines, a wider choice of flights, times and locations, and therefore will be able to receive more tourists."