Mexico court blocks airport project in blow to AMLO
Mexico City, June 18, 2019 (AFP) - A judge in Mexico has ordered President
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government to halt construction on a new airport
and preserve work on a rival project he tried to scrap, activists said Monday.
The ruling is a blow to the leftist leader known as "AMLO," who campaigned
against his predecessor's "pharaonic" and "corruption-plagued" $13-billion
airport for Mexico City.
He wants to replace it with a cheaper -- but highly controversial --
alternative, converting an existing airbase into a second airport for the
The decision by the court in the central state of Mexico freezes
construction at the Santa Lucia airbase until the government shows it has "all
necessary permits," said a collective of activists and business groups that
filed 147 separate complaints to block the project on environmental, safety
and other grounds.
The ruling also orders the government not to tear down the work already
done on the rival project in the suburb of Texcoco, which was one-third
Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, scrapped the Texcoco project
after holding a referendum on the issue that was plagued by irregularities.
The decision sparked outrage among investors, including the project's chief
backer, the telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim.
Slim, the world's fifth-richest person according to Forbes magazine, warned
that canceling the project would amount to "canceling the economic growth of
Mexico City's current airport is aging poorly and badly saturated: last
year it handled nearly 48 million passengers, despite an official capacity of
The Texcoco airport would have replaced it entirely. The $4 billion Santa
Lucia project would supplement it, giving the capital two airports.
Lopez Obrador said Friday the lawsuits against the Santa Lucia project were
part of a media campaign against him by people who were "upset" over losing
"their little business deal."