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By KELIN DILLON

Several years after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) canceled the construction of Mexico’s New International Airport (NAICM) in 2018 in favor of building the purportedly less-expensive Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) in the region, new figures have revealed that the AIFA has cost the Mexican government 116 billion pesos as of mid-March 2022 – a far cry from the maximum budget of 75 billion pesos AMLO had publicly touted upon the project’s announcement.

Upon canceling the NAICM, López Obrador ensured, despite the 180 billion pesos needed to end the project, building the less-expensive AIFA airport rather than continuing with the NAICM would save Mexico 120 billion pesos. Considering the AIFA’s increasing expenses and the enduring costs of the NAICM cancelation, AMLO’s purported savings seem far less than his initial estimate.

While 104.5 billion pesos had been spent as of December 2022, another 11.4 billion pesos were allocated to the project in this year’s Federation Expenditure Budget (PEF); if these funds are used, the AIFA will have cost 36 percent more than initially estimated.

The airport’s increased cost can partially be explained by the airport’s jurisdictional handling by the Secretariat of Defense (Sedena), which requested additional funding from the Secretariat of Finance for the AIFA under the project’s “K19 classification,” or national security government infrastructure projects.

In 2020, the Sedena’s continued expenses on the project accounted for 37.8 billion pesos in approved funding, or 579 percent more than the PEF’s allocated budget for the AIFA for the year.

Now, four years after the NAICM’s cancellation, the AIFA is scheduled to open for operation on Monday, March 21.

 

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