This story has been making headlines around the world Carlos Slim one of the most prosperous business men in Mexico and the world had a very interesting interview where he defended the new Mexico city airport, as you know we a rein the construction of a new airport, that would replace the old airport, here in Mexico city and candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador came out and said that this airport should not be built because he thought that there’s was a better and cheaper option. Carlos slim has a stake with one of his companies in the contract for building this airport, came out and said that not only would this effect the development of Mexico City but would indeed affect the future of the country. Let’s talk about this, I have you on the line now and I know you haven’t been on the show for a while the deputy general manager for the Mexican institute for competitiveness. Welcome to the show Manuel I’m glad to have you here. What are your reactions to this debate?
Hello Ana Maria, well I think that Mr. slim is right this discussion should have happened 5 years ago before the project was started, in the end most of the landing strips where most of the soil for the landing spots for the plains is already in place, and that a very big asset, I mean a big one around 30 billion pesos so I mean what are we going to do with that, a dancing floor or something(laughs) I mean we need to finish the project. Al though AMLO has a point saying yeah maybe we don’t need a 85 billion terminal I mean to put that in dollar terms I mean it’s not very expensive but it’s still around 4 billion US not a very expensive building, but I having said that in the department of financiers airports are cash cows all the business flows to finance this project and all the revenues to pay for the investment have been very carefully planned and the capital markets pretty much invested in this, so I think that in the end Mr. slim is right, I don’t think that AMLO´s idea of building additional landing strips in the military base of Santa Lucia is actually a viable option.
What do you think is going on here Manuel? Because there is a debate on the technical aspects on the position taken by Andres Manuela but there seems to be something else going on due with politics but I just don’t understand the politics behind this, I don’t know if Andres Manuel is attacking Carlos slim or if he’s just questioning or sending a message to the business community or if Andres Manuel really believes this. Would he still stick to creating a commission, which he did announce that he would create a commission that would evaluate the airport and not only that but the side of the contracts, then he al of a sudden comes out and says we´re not going to drop this airport.
Whoever the new president of Mexico is going to be, of course I would draw a line this is the flashiest project of the Peña administration, so I would indeed say we need to cut corners in this and that etc… and we need to think of the contract and think about the mobility plane and we need also to be looking at the realtor renovation options and look at what is going to be done with land of the old airport. Which are actually the most important points? What will happen to the current Benito Juarez airport? That’s an integral part, we can actually have a lake there, flood it. I’m really skeptical of the environmental damage of the new airport.
I remember in the 17th century where a man called Martinez was called in to open up the mountain in this area and drain the lake. That’s where he basically killed the ecosystem that existed before the Spaniards came to Mexico. Right now you can have more renovation options like creating more water basins in that area, is something that definitely needs to be looked at but that’s not compatible with building the new airport. Of course there are also about 5 airports around Mexico city and we could work on a plan for regional navigation from the Toluca, Queretaro, Pachuca, Puebla and Cuernavaca areas, but these airports do not have the capacity to be a part of an international hub and a city of this size needs an international hub because other international Latin America cities have them, even the smallest cities like san Salvador have them and they are becoming a regional hub. If we do not do this we are missing out on large international opportunities. I think that Mr. slim is right optimizing the efficiency and cost of the project is a different matter. What’s very surprising is that there is no change in AMLOs discourse (that the project needs to be canceled) I don’t think that is a sound option for this country.
Well on last question, I real appreciate you joining us today, is the going to be any political consequences for Andres Manuel for taking this position, and I mean he may even get more votes for taking this position. As you know this is a very interesting election, do you think that there will be any voters that will take a look at this and think twice or there will be voters that will definitely vote for him now that he has taken this position
I think that Mr. Slim is a very respected person he does have his detractors but I can say that most Mexicans admire him, this might take a toll on Andres Manuel and this will also reveal Andres Manuel as a probable future president of Mexico him and slim actually use to be very good friends as you know.
I know and that’s what surprised me about this debate because they were actually almost partners when he was mayor of Mexico City. Andres Manuel opened up most of the historical part of the city for Carlos slim in order to do rebuilding a lot of buying and actually a lot of improvement. I’m just trying to figure out where is this going.
I guess this is a new lesson for slim and he has to find out that there are no friends in politics. there’s no telling wit Andres Manuel, he offered Enrique Cardenas the position for the Puebla governor and again he gave it to Manuel Baroza, and he left his loyalist form old times and I guess this might take a toll on Andres Manuel and also there are many Mexicans and followers that think that this airport is a discussion just for rich people and think this won’t affect them.
It’s great to have you on the show and I hope you come back to talk about this, there’s a lot of issues to talk about
I would love to invite you Ana Maria
Thank you, Manuel Molano