Imagine you live in a big city with an overcrowded international airport with a replacement project already being build. But then your new president-elect decides to hold a referendum if the construction of the airport (which is already 30% complete) is to be continued or not and only 1 million people decide to vote, about 1 per cent of the total population, with the majority voting against the new airport.
Well, this is exactly what has just happened in Mexico City. A non-binding referendum has turned into a binding one while only a very small percentage of eligible voters turned to the polls, Lopez Obrador, Mexico's new president has announced. The main reasons are the result of the referendum as well as high costs.
Instead, he said, the current airport will be modernized and the military airport in Santa Lucia, about 50km north of Mexico City, is to be opened for commercial aviation and will receive two new runways, a new apron with positions for 33 airplanes and a new ATC Tower. This will costs significantly less than constructing a new airport, according to him.
The IATA as well as several airlines habe already expressed that they are not happy with this decision and have highlited that the new airport would have provided up to 200,000 new jobs and would have contributed to up to $20bn in GDP growth. The CEO of Panama's Copa Airlines for example said that his airline has been offered slots at Santa Lucia but he decided against operating from the airport because of it being uneconomical and because the airport isn't easily accessible from the city.