Studies Begin for the New Tulum AirportBy Paloma Duran | Tue, 02/16/2021 - 10:39
The Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) requested MX$237.6 million (US$11.8 million) from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) for the pre-feasibility studies of the new civil and military airport in Tulum, Quintana Roo. The studies seek to analyze the economic and financial viability of the project, reported El Sol de México.
In October, President López Obrador announced that the Army will be responsible for the construction of the new Tulum airport, which is scheduled to start construction early in 2021. “I believe we are going to start at the beginning of next year because we are planning to open it in 2023. It is a fact that the project will be carried out,” López Obrador said in 2020.
The president noted that the project will have a major impact on the development of southeastern Mexico, since the Mayan Train will connect to the airport network in the region. López Obrador explained that Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche and Chiapas will be integrated and these states will trigger the economic development of Mexico’s southeast, reported MBN.
According to El Sol de México, the Tulum airport was first planned in 2009 but due to the global 2008 financial crisis, it was postponed until 2011. However, the process was suspended because no participant met the requirements established in the bidding documents. “Previously, there was a project for the Tulum airport, which did not materialize during past administrations. However, we will resume its construction with the help of SEDENA's military engineers,” said López Obrador.
Currently, the area only has the Tulum Air Base, which is a military airport for the Mexican Navy. The base has a 1,820m long and 30m wide runway, which was given in 1987 to the Ministry of Navy (SEMAR) and it is where the Tulum airport is expected to be built, reported El Economista.
The new project was added to SHCP's investment project portfolio for 2021, including its cost-benefit analysis, economic viability studies, financial evaluation and obstacle survey. In addition, there is a master plan with topographic studies, engineering development for the control tower and a passenger terminal, along with waste management, social impact, archaeological rescue, legal viability and architectural planning for the terminal, reported El Economista. It was also announced that the airport will be administered by the army. Nevertheless, it does not rule out contracts with private companies.
According to the president's plans, the Tulum airport must be completed along with the Mayan Train to boost tourism in the southern region. Moreover, the president has emphasized that the airport must be built and operated by the Army, along with sections six and seven of the Mayan Train to protect it from criminals and corruption, reported Zócalo. However, there have been accusations against the Mayan Train and FONATUR for attempting to instigate a paramilitary conflict. EZLN, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and other associations have decided to "resist and combat the megaprojects of this administration," forcing FONATUR to actively mediate in the conflict between Mayan Train supporters and these communities, MBN reported.