Image credits: Notimex, SEDENA
News Article

What Is the Status on the Santa Lucia Project?

By Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 05/06/2020 - 16:50

On Monday’s daily morning press conference, President López Obrador presented another video of Santa Lucia airport’s progress from SEDENA similar to the one presented on April 20. Construction of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport continues despite warnings from aviation industry authorities claiming that the airport will not prove necessary until the traveling and aviation industry recovers fully from COVID-19 shutdowns. That goal could be years away, due to low demand for air travel. Without government support, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) believes that Mexican airlines could go bankrupt in as little as eight months. 

The video progress report (which was uploaded to Youtube by Notimex) begins with a 3D render of the entrance to one of the airport’s terminals followed by construction footage, while the narrator explains progress made in the development of all sections of the airport. The video also shows another 3D render of the airport’s future fuel storage and distribution center. The narrator explains that its concrete roof of subterranean chambers for electrical equipment, emergency generators and water storage is being cast in place. 

The video shows the military housing complex being built as part of the new base neighboring the airport. The main runway is currently going through the same coating of hydraulic concrete and installation of subterranean drainage infrastructure for rainwater collection. The video continues to show another larger 3D render of the main passenger terminal from an aerial perspective. The narrator explains that the last reported cementing of the steel cranes has been completed. The report shows considerable progress in the construction of buildings that will make up the new military base. The video concludes by claiming that the project has created 20,532 jobs so far (the number reported on April 20 was 19,128) and that 686 days remain until all construction is set to end (this means the project remains on schedule to be finished by March 21, 2022).

The video contrasts to some extent with a recent report from El Economista, which details the extent to which this project might be going over budget. It appears that SEDENA has, in 1Q20, already spent over US$214.52 million on the Santa Lucía Airport project, which represents 97 percent of the entire budget originally assigned for 2020. To this day, the project’s total cost is estimated to hover around US$3.39 billion, which is 3.6 percent higher than the estimate mentioned on March 19 by the project’s leader, General Engineer Gustavo Vallejo. Due to the project’s designation as a strategic priority, the SHCP will be in charge of making additional budgetary assignments in order to close the funding gap. SHCP reported that 2021’s budgetary assignment for Santa Lucia airport should total US$1.14 billion, which would represent an increase of 413 percent in comparison to 2020. Of the project’s total budget, around US$1.6 million was set aside for studies to create a platform of connectivity between the three airports located close to Mexico City that will form the so-called Metropolitan Airport System. SEDENA has spent none of that money so far.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Notimex, SEDENA, El Economista
Photo by:   Notimex, SEDENA
Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Journalist and Industry Analyst