NAICM: The Project of the Century

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 23:13

After 20 years, Mexico City’s desperate call for a new airport has finally been answered with the construction of the New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM). The Benito Juarez International Airport has reached its breaking point after operating in overcapacity for many years. In 2015, more than 38 million passengers flew onto its two runways and passed through its gates. By the end of phase I, NAICM will meet the demand of over 125 million passengers and 1 million operations each year.

NAICM will be divided in two phases, with the operator, GACM, expecting the first phase to be finished by October 2020
and the second phase by 2060. The first phase of NAICM will 201 consist of the construction of 4,430ha, three airstrips and one terminal. The airport was designed by Foster+Partners and free, while Arup took over the consulting and engineering tasks and the Netherlands Airport Consultants ensured it is the most efficient in the world. The X-shaped terminal, representing the “X” in Mexico, will be enclosed by a single lightweight grid shell, which will be the largest structure of this type ever built. The airport is being constructed on top of the Texcoco lake, demanding the use of light materials to ensure that it sinks levelly over time. It will have 30 remote positions, 24,078 parking spaces, and 90 fixed-contact doors. NAICM will be 100 percent sustainable, meeting LEED Platinum standards, and 70 percent of water will be reused.

The first phase has been divided into 21 tender packages that have been organized in three different stages, preliminary, principal infrastructure and placed upon operation.

This project was expected to have a price tag of MX$169 billion (US$8.9 billion), but due to an adjustment to the inflation rate by the Ministry of Finance, the price increased by 6.6 percent, totaling MX$180 billion (US$9.5 billion). Approximately MX$104.3 billion (US$5.5 billion) will be financed through the public sector and the remaining MX$75.7 billion (US$4 billion) through the private sector. The bulk of the investment will go to the construction of the airport infrastructure, including the terminal, control tower, airstrips and auxiliary installations. The rest will go toward hydraulic infrastructure, project management, engineering and design of the airport. Additionally, it is financed through the securitization of receivables from passengers of the Benito Juarez airport. The NAICM trust will serve as the project’s financial structure and will issue Green Bonds whose net proceeds will be used to fund environmentally beneficial projects that deal with the design, construction, development or operation of the NAICM.