Carlos Slim's Latest And Possibly Final Big Project: A $13.4 Billion Airport

By on July 5, 2017 in ArticlesBillionaire News

Carlos Slim is the man behind much of Mexico City's technological infrastructure, so much that in Mexico he is known by the (incidentally, somewhat supervillain-like) nickname el Ingeniero, or the Engineer in English. A recent Guardian story outlines what is likely to be his final direct industrial contribution to Mexico: A massive, futuristic airport that will cost an estimated $13.4 billion to complete, designed by architect Norman Foster and Slim's own son-in-law Fernando Romero.

Unless efforts to cancel the controversial project succeed, the airport will be constructed on swampland in the city of Texcoco the last remaining space in the Valley of Mexico, where much of Slim's past projects have been built. Right now, the site of the airport is a "big, flat, empty spot on the map," mostly covered with red volcanic gravel, and is (for an airport) unusually adjacent to central Mexico City. A project of this size being built on a dried-up lake bed – and in an earthquake zone, no less – just makes it more complex, and provides a significant contribution to that $13.4 billion price tag.

Those aforementioned cancellation efforts are facing an uphill battle, though, even as Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador makes canceling the airport a campaign promise in advance of the 2018 election, because a sizable 85 percent chunk of the necessary construction contracts will reportedly be signed and sealed by the end of the year. This would make cancellation of the project after the 2018 election "next to impossible" and in fact, according to the newspaper, El Economista, construction on the airport was already 15 percent done by May of this year.

Assuming that construction proceeds on schedule, what is likely to be Carlos Slim's swan song will open for business sometime in 2020. If and when that happens, the new Valley of Mexico international airport will be the third largest in the world.

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