Pena Nieto Considering New Airport as Mexico City Reaches Limits

Mexico is studying a plan to build a new airport for its capital, among other potential measures, to alleviate congestion in the busiest hub in Latin America, President Enrique Pena Nieto said.

Plans under consideration include replacing Benito Juarez International and expanding airports near Mexico City such as in Toluca and Puebla, Pena Nieto said in an interview yesterday in London. He said the government may opt to overhaul the existing Mexico City airport, which traces its roots to an airfield that was built in 1928 and later updated.

The capital’s airport surpassed its hourly limit on takeoffs and landings by an average of once a week last year, according to the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, which is in talks with airlines to move more flights to non-peak times. Mexican carriers including Grupo Aeromexico SAB (AEROMEX*) pushed aircraft purchasing to a record in 2012 as the nation’s air passenger traffic rose at the fastest pace since 2007.

“It’s evident that Mexico City’s airport is saturated,” Pena Nieto said. “It’s evident that we need to take precautions already and we’re doing studies and evaluations related to the eventual modernization of the current airport, or the possibility of building a new airport.”

He didn’t provide details for when the government will decide whether to build a new airport, how much investment would be required or where the project would be located.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carlos Manuel Rodriguez in Mexico City at carlosmr@bloomberg.net; Brendan Case in Mexico City at bcase4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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