Published On: Mon, Oct 22nd, 2018

Carlos Slim says Mexico City’s new airport should be put out to concession

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Mexico City’s next international airport should be put out to concession so that construction can be privately funded, according to Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim (pictured).

Speaking at a business forum over the weekend, Slim said that the concession option could be applicable for both the options from which Mexicans will be able to choose in a public consultation process scheduled for October 25-28, local press reported.

One possibility involves upgrading the current Mexico City airport and the international airport serving state capital Toluca, as well as building two runways at the neighboring Santa Lucía military base.

The second option is to continue construction of the 285bn-peso (US$14.7bn) international airport currently underway in Texcoco, and closing the current one.

“Whichever option ends up being chosen, it will be convenient to launch a tender so that [the airport] can be operated by private companies, including international experts, and that the revenues the government receives as a result can be used to fund social development projects,” Slim said.

The private companies interested in the project could make use of the “never seen before” low-rate financing options available worldwide, the business magnate said.

Slim also suggested including specialized pension funds (Siefores) as investors in the project.

He reaffirmed his support for continuing with the new airport option, and repeated that the project’s construction costs could be reduced by up to 10%.

SLIM’S INVOLVEMENT

CICSA, the infrastructure unit of Slim’s Carso group, and FCC were members of consortiums that won some of the airport’s largest contracts, such as the ones for the terminal building and the construction of runway No. 3.

In addition, Slim-owned pension fund manager Afore Inbursa was one of the main investors in the Fibra E securities that were issued to partially fund construction of the airport earlier this year.

Carso is one of five local groups that account for 51% of the investment already committed for the project.

In April, Slim publicly criticized president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s proposal to cancel the project, saying that “halting the project means to stop the development of the country.”

At the time, López Obrador suggested the magnate take over a concession for the project and build it “with his own funds.”

WHAT DO MEXICANS SAY?

Although a recent Mitofsky poll showed that 39.3% of respondents were in favor of continuing construction of the new airport, while only 16.5% showed approval for the Santa Lucía option, a new poll suggests more support for the latter.

According to TResearch, 52% of respondents were in favor of the Santa Lucía option and the other 48% supported continuing construction of the new airport.

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