Mexico airport tenders on hold until project's future decided

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The awarding of contracts for the construction of the 250bn-peso (US$13.4bn) international airport that is being built for Mexico City has been put on hold until there is more certainty regarding the project's future.

"With the aim of obtaining the maximum transparency in the transition process, GACM [the state holding company building the airport] suspends the conclusion of four international public tenders until the discussion meetings on the airport deliver their results," the company said in a release.

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The four tenders are those related to the construction of the external service distribution networks; the fuel distribution network; another contract for the installation of the runway's lighting system; as well as another one to oversee construction of the fuel network.

The decision was made following a July 17 meeting of government officials with members of the infrastructure team of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

"The halting of the tender deadlines does not affect in any way the existing contract commitments with different providers and contractors," the release added.

The four contracts were already in the process of being awarded, as the respective bid submission and opening ceremonies had already taken place.

WHAT NEXT?

GACM's decision was made in the context of recent announcements by López Obrador (AMLO) and his infrastructure team. Just a couple of weeks after AMLO's election victory on July 1, his team began conducting a technical review of the project, results of which are expected to be made public in August.

Public debates will subsequently take place between August 15 to October 15 in order to discuss the options that the leftist leader is proposing for the airport. These include continuing the ongoing works at a high cost for the government; canceling the project and replacing it with AMLO's alternative of two more runways at Santa Lucía military airport linked to the existing airport; or tendering the project and letting private investors fund construction.

In October a public consultation process will be launched so that Mexicans can choose one of those options. The results will serve as feedback so that the new government can make a final decision on the project. AMLO takes office December 1.

THE CONTRACTS

The contract to supply and install runway lighting received three bids at the opening ceremony that took place early last month. Offers ranged from US$116mn to US$198mn.

Scheduled for June 25, the awarding of the contract was pushed back to July 15 before being put on hold indefinitely.

The external service distribution networks contract received 10 bids. The networks will be used to supply natural gas, for fire detection, potable and treated water, sewage and rain drainage, telecommunications and external lighting, among others.

The contract was scheduled to be awarded on July 20, but prior to GACM's most recent announcement, had been postponed to August 20.

Meanwhile, the most recent clarification meeting for the contract to build the fuel distribution network was held on July 4, with the attendance of 16 companies.