They Took Our…..Airport?

September 3, 2014 8:00 am

by Charlie · 6 comments

Mexico City is planning to scrap it’s current airport and build a replacement.  A really, really big one.  The AP reports:

MEXICO CITY — President Enrique Pena Nieto announced the construction of a new international airport for Mexico City on Tuesday, saying it will quadruple the capacity of the current one.

Costing an estimated $9.2 billion, the facility will have six runways and a capacity of 120 million passengers a year. Pena Nieto said it has been clear for decades that the capital’s overtaxed airport needed to be replaced.

“The current saturation restricts travel between the different states of the country, limits Mexico’s connectivity to the world, slows investment and commerce,” he said. “We can no longer keep postponing the fundamental solution.”

6 runways and 120 Million passengers?  Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson currently has 5 runways and handled just over 94 million passengers last year.  That still qualifies as the busiest in the world, but others are gaining.  Beijing may eventually pass Hartsfield Jackson but it’s hard to call it a competitor.  Mexico City, however, is in the same hemisphere.  And as logistics of cargo become more and more important to building and maintaining manufacturing centers, regional dominance of logistics – including air, sea, and rail/highway – are key.

So what’s an airport to do?  Luckily, Dave Williams of the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that the airport has a plan:

New gates, a doubling of parking capacity and a sixth runway highlight a new master plan for Atlanta’s airport unveiled by airport officials Wednesday.

Miguel Southwell, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the airport’s chief planner outlined a series of short- and long-term improvements recommended in the new 20-year master plan during a presentation to the Atlanta City Council’s Transportation Committee.

Short-term projects, to be undertaken during the next two to three years, include replacing the north and south parking garages at the airport, built in the 1970s, with new garages. Increasing the number of floors in the new garages from the current four to eight or nine will allow the airport to double its on-site parking capacity, saidTom Nissalke, the airport’s planning director.

The plan over the 20 year period contains 9 new gates and a 6th runway – and hopefully, maintains Atlanta’s dominance within the region.

We’re implementing our plan to expand the Port of Savannah, and the Airport understands what needs to be done to maintain a competitive edge.  Now if we could just figure out how to get our roads and rail components in the same league we could ensure that “Logistics are in our DNA” for another generation or three.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed September 3, 2014 at 8:31 am

Mexico City’s airport is a complete mess. Terminals are miles away, they’re small, they’re inefficient, they aren’t really designed with expansions in mind, I wouldn’t worry about that one so much. We have a unique advantage in that we’re already well equipped and we’re in the U.S. That doesn’t mean we should be complacent but a lot of worries are probably going to just be worries.

Ellynn September 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

Why is the parking a major need? (I ask since I don’t fly out of ATL, so I don’t use or know the conditions of the lots.) Is this long term parking, short term parking? In a city that is trying to reduce traffic, why are they encouraging local people to drive and park at the airport?

Charlie September 3, 2014 at 10:31 am

Without checking the “officials”, I believe it’s a mix of short and long term parking. On busy days, there’s a need for both. They’ve already moved the rental cars and are adding long term parking where the old rental lots were. The garages at the terminal would be additional short term parking, I presume.

Will Durant September 3, 2014 at 11:09 am

The airport has been a cash cow for the city for decades. Parking has been a reliable milk cow that delivers every day. Parking garages would allow a shorter walk/delay out of the weather. Today the non-city owned lots on Camp Creek Parkway with shuttle buses that pick you up and deliver you to your car have made a huge dent into the city’s take. For the most part I use MARTA.

Dave Bearse September 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Hartsfield won’t be far behind on a 6th runway. And by the time the airport in Mexico City is complete Hartsfield may be closing in on 120M passengers.

Harry September 5, 2014 at 12:18 am

Yes, as Ed said Mexico City airport is no threat to Atlanta. Beijing yes.