“The Lake Texcoco area is a flood zone, making it less than ideal for an airport,” Encinas, a member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, said in a statement.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said last Tuesday that the new airport, which will be four times larger than the existing facility, would be constructed in a nature preserve on Lake Texcoco.
The new airport will cost 169 billion pesos ($12.15 billion), have six runways and handle 120 million passengers annually, or four times the volume that the currrent airport handles.
A September 1995 study prepared by the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, concluded that Lake Texcoco was the worst site for an airport because it would have “significantly adverse” impacts on the Valley of Mexico’s environment, the senator said.
“It is estimated that more than 120 native species would be in danger of extinction” due to the airport project, Encinas said, adding that the current airport’s Terminal 2, which was built seven years ago, is sinking “up to 30 centimeters each year.”
The airport project would be “ecological suicide and a threat to urban development,” the senator said.
The government opted to overhaul the existing airport in 2007, when plans to build a new terminal in the town of San Salvador Atenco collapsed amid violent protests by residents whose land was to be seized for the facility.