Spotlight: New details on transport projects for Mexico's 3-airport system

Bnamericas Published: Saturday, March 21, 2020
Spotlight: New details on transport projects for Mexico's 3-airport system

As construction for the 79bn-peso (US$3.9bn) Felipe Ángeles international airport (AIFA) in Mexico state progresses, the Mexican government has laid out an infrastructure plan with more than 10 projects to improve mobility between the three airports in the system to serve Mexico City. 

Defense ministry Sedena, entrusted with the construction of AIFA at the Santa Lucía military airbase, will work alongside the transport and communications ministry (SCT) and the governments of Mexico City and Mexico state to carry out these projects with a mix of federal, state and private funds.

The plan, presented at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's (AMLO) press conference on Thursday, seeks to dissipate concerns regarding connections between the airports in Mexico state and the Benito Juárez international airport (AICM) in Mexico City.

The standout among the announcements is the construction of a 13.8bn-peso branch rail line and more than 10 highway projects.

AMLO’s three-airport system consists of the Toluca (AIT) international airport in Mexico state along with AICM and AIFA, and it was proposed as an alternative to the canceled new Mexico City international airport (NAIM) in Texcoco. 

BNamericas takes a look at the projects announced. 


Although SCT will take on most of the projects that will enable more rapid transport between AIFA, AIT and Mexico city, Sedena and the governments of Mexico City and Mexico state will also take part in the planning and expansion of highways, rail lines, BRT systems and bridges, SCT undersecretary Cedric Iván Escalante said Thursday at AMLO’s conference. 

The highest profile project involves the existing Mexico City-Mexico state suburban train, which already connects the capital with northern Mexico state from Buenavista rail station in Mexico City to Cuautitlan municipality in the state. The suburban train has other expansion projects planned for this year, according to the first stage of the 2020-29 national infrastructure program (PNI). 

The idea is to add a 23km branch from one of the seven stations on this railway. This branch would begin at Lechería station in Mexico state and run to Nextlalpan municipality, where AIFA is being built. 

Although the project had already been announced, not many details about the works had previously been provided. The plan may be altered in the course of the next six months as officials complete the master plan and other studies. 

According to Escalante, the 23km branch will consist of two elevated viaducts, eight vehicular crossings, three intermediate stations, a minor railway bridge and 17 pedestrian crossings, and will involve a total investment of 13.8bn pesos.

SCT will invest 10bn pesos in the project, while Sedena will contribute 3.8bn pesos, he said.

“The execution period is six months, in which we're still going to [adjust] the projects, and 20 months of execution. This takes us to a total period of 26 months,” the SCT official said, adding that the project is expected to be completed by June 2022.

Also, underway is the Mexico-Toluca interurban train, on which construction resumed four months ago. These works link Mexico City with AIT.

The project was suspended last year under then-president Enrique Peña Nieto, but was taken up again this year by the private sector, which allotted 20bn pesos to its competition under the PNI.


Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and Mexico state governor Alfredo Del Mazo also attended AMLO's conference to present their projects to contribute to the system. 

Del Mazo announced a series of projects that involve expanding more highways such as the Naucalpan-Ecatepec road, but he did not go into specifics about the details or investments.

He did say, however, that his government will work on the construction of line No. 4 of the Mexibús BRT system, which will be extended 17.2km to one of the suburban train stations. The original route of the line connects Indios Verdes, a multimodal transfer station in the north of Mexico City, to the Los Héroes neighborhood of Tecámac. 

Meanwhile, Sheinbaum was a little more specific about the five projects the city authorities will carry out.

The first project entails the construction of the 8km highway between Oriente Zaragoza and Peñon, close to the AICM. It will have an elevated highway for 7km and two lanes. The construction will be financed with private investment and it will take the government 17 months to complete it. 

Also, with an investment of 300mn pesos, Mexico City will expand the lanes on the 1.5km Circuito interior Galindo y Villa, part of the city’s 42km Circuito Interior beltway. The project will take 11 months. 

The city government will also construct an 85,500m2 modal transfer center (Centram) in the Indios Verdes area with an undisclosed investment from the public sector. Part of Centram will be built this year and the remainder in 2021, with works lasting 12 months. 

Last, Sheinbaum said that the city government would invest 190mn pesos in two access roads on the important north-south Insurgentes Norte boulevard next year and the expansion of Metro line No. 4. 


Sedena has been highlighted in AMLO’s press conferences all week, as members of the ministry have been providing progress reports on the airport almost daily. 

However, Sedena civil engineer Gustavo Ricardo Vallejo Suárez, leader of the project, said Thursday that the ministry had completed the airport’s master plan and it was approved by the nation’s aeronautic regulator. The ministry reported 40% progress on the plan in September. 

"There are three main components of the project. The master plan... the mobility component... and the air navigation component, which is the analysis of airspace that allows the harmonious coexistence of the air traffic between the airports that make up the airport system, but in coordination with the other airports in the national network,” he said.

“And the last and most important stage, which is the preparation of operations and certification of the airport, will be carried out midway through this year,” he said, reiterating that the airport will be completed on March 21, 2022. 

Sedena will also be trusted with the administration and operation of the airport by creating a company with a board comprised mainly by members of the defense ministry, the head of the AIFA’s administrative committee, René Trujillo Miranda, said at Thursday’s conference. 

(Photo credit: Gobierno de México)

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