News Article

NAICM: Economic Development on a Mega Scale

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 16:39

Ricardo Dueñas, CFO of Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México (GACM), joined 250 key decision-makers during the Infrastructure & Sustainability Summit 2017 at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel in Mexico City on Tuesday to speak about the progress of the NAICM airport megaproject, named “Mexico’s Door to the World.” Transparency, he said, has been a hallmark of the development.

“We are following the best international practices,” he explained, referencing GACM’s collaboration with the OECD and with INAI to promote the greatest level of transparency, both in the bidding rounds and the overseeing of the project.

The airport project is led by SCT and GACM, which then select the leading companies in their fields to contribute to NAICM’s development. Norman Foster of prestigious international firm Foster + Partners is the master architect, and renowned UK firm ARUP is in charge of the design. Among other partners are Fernando Romero Enterprises and the Netherlands Airport Consultants.

“We also have a panel of experts to advise on the most technical aspects and the important decisions in the development of the project,” said Dueñas. “This is truly one of the most audited and transparent projects in the country.”

The project provides open, public data, meaning details of all bids and contracts can be accessed on GACM’s website. Bids are transmitted live, and notary and social witness protocols are followed. “We are also working to strengthen corporate governance with an independent board of advisers that extends beyond the current administration,” Dueñas explained. “This is very important to ensure continuity of the project.”

Financing structures also play a significant role in project viability, and Dueñas explained that NAICM follows a forward-thinking mixed financing scheme, with funds taken both from the government budget (PEF) and private financing. “This is a very viable investment scheme for the government because after debt service is paid, all this profit will go to the public purse,” he said.

Private credit for the project comes from investment banks and bonds, and a flexible scheme with a revolving credit facility. “A few months ago, we raised US$4 billion in the capital markets, equaling a total private financing of US$6 billion,” he said. This amount comes from 750 investors, 45 percent of which are from the US, 21 percent from Asia, 14 percent from Latin America and 20 percent from Europe. “This financing model has won 14 prestigious international prizes.”

The impact of the project cannot be denied. With the current 770ha AICM saturated with passenger traffic, the new airport located 5km northeast covers a massive 5,000ha. The most ambitious infrastructure project in Mexico, it will be the first airport outside the US with triple simultaneous operations, with three planes able to take off and land simultaneously over six runways. “This will be the second-biggest airport in the world after Istanbul,” said Dueñas.

The first six works have already been completed: the perimeter fence, 48km of access roads, cleaning of the land, temporary drainage, the GACM camp and the moving of debris. Right now, 27 works are under construction, with 292 companies involved and 40,000 direct and indirect employees.

With this scale, not only does the NAICM project have a direct impact on quality of life and employment opportunities for Mexico, it extends beyond just a new airport. “This project goes further than just NAICM,” Dueñas said. “It also opens up opportunities in connection links, such as the metro and new highways that will be necessary, as well as the reuse of the AICM land.”