Mexico has been upgrading its Metropolitan Airport System (current total capacity 60 million passengers and 700,000 aircraft movements a year) since early 2006 and one of the major projects in this $1bn (Mex$11bn) improvement program has involved Mexico City Airport where the construction of the new terminal two (T2) will increase the capacity of the airport from 20 million to 32 million passengers a year.
Benito Juárez International Airport (Mexico City Airport), one of the highest in the world (elevation 7,342ft / 2,238m), is administered and operated by Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA) and has two runways, 05R/23L 12,795ft (3,900m) and 05L/23R 12,966ft (3,952m) both asphalt paved (plans for a third runway have recently been shelved because of insufficient space at the airport site).
The airport, which is 13km (8miles) east of the centre of Mexico City, was formally named after the 19th century president Benito Juárez in 2006, and is the country’s main international and domestic gateway offering direct flights to more than 100 destinations worldwide.
When terminal two is fully operative it will reduce the time for each airplane landing to parking at the contact position by ten minutes. At the end of the project the airport will have 59 boarding gates, as well as 31 remote positions, for a total of 90 parking positions for aircraft serving the airport.
The construction of the new terminal two at Mexico City Airport and associated projects has cost $600m, of which $200m was provided by the Federal Government, while the other $400m was obtained from a syndicated credit granted by four banks, Citi Group-Banamex, BBVA Bancomer, Inbursa, and HSBC, through Nacional Financiera (Nafinsa) the government development bank.
The financing is part of the first credit obtained by the Federal Government that will not be converted into public debt since it will be paid off with a portion of the annual airport user tax (Tarifa de Uso Aeroportuario, TUA) to be collected in 2007–2008.
The expansion project is being coordinated by the Federal Government in conjunction with the Ministry of Communcations and Transportation (SCT), Airports and Auxiliary Services (ASA), and The Metropolitan Airport Group of Mexico City (GACM).
The project involves building a new terminal on the south side of the airport’s runways, linked to the existing north-side terminals with a 3km (2mile) shuttle train. The new terminal will also have a new five-star hotel and a parking lot for 4,500 vehicles.
The airport is proud of its expansion project; there is an exposition in the centre of the terminal featuring images and LCD TV screens showing pictures of the second terminal under construction. Passengers can also walk over a model of the new airport facilities on a plexiglas floor.
TERMINAL ONE EXPANSION
Construction work has included new concourses in terminal one (95,000m² refurbished), and a brand new terminal (terminal two (T2)) with an inter-terminal people mover train to connect them together. With the opening of T2, Benito Juárez International will be the first Latin American airport capable of handling the Airbus A380.
The terminal one expansion project that was completed in 2006 (having begun in 2004) included a new international concourse (F), new aisles to increase the flow of passengers and the division of arrivals and departures on different levels. In addition there is now a new corridor that connects the H concourse to the F check-in areas (J) with refurbished duty free shopping areas.
The construction also included a new level on the domestic side of the building, and a new hall on the landside of the domestic check-in areas. There was also an expansion of internal hall B with 15 more conveyors for baggage claiming on halls E3, E4, and C2. The outside of the terminal was also refurbished. Gate one provided new seating for the refurbished areas.
TERMINAL TWO AND SHUTTLE TRAIN
The new terminal was originally intended for inauguration in November 2006, but this was delayed until the middle of 2007. Work on the new terminal and shuttle train started in August 2005.
T2 will house the international and domestic destinations of SkyTeam member airlines flying into Mexico City, including Aeroméxico’s destinations. The building will comprise two concourses; A for domestic operations, and B for international flights, meaning that halls A and F1 as concourse H (Gates H29–H36A) in terminal one, will be free for other airlines to operate.
In its entirety, T2 comprises seven buildings. It includes 22 direct aircraft accesses in addition to 14 remote accesses. In addition, the construction will include 214,000m² of floor space and 17 pre-boarding halls – a total of 350,000m². The project also included the construction of a 300-room hotel on the third level, which the Hilton Group is managing.
According to ASA, T2 also features security systems that meet full ICAO international standards, and will rely on state-of-the-art baggage claim equipment with capacity to handle approximately 10,600 suitcases an hour. The expansion project also includes new access roads to T2 and a new 3km fuel duct for servicing aircraft.
The Mexican construction and engineering company Ingenieros Civiles Asociados (ICA) made the winning bid for the work to lay the foundations of the new terminal (Mex$373m ($35.2m) bid) and has also been involved in a large proportion of the remaining construction work as well.
ICA was responsible for the construction of the seven buildings making up T2 including reinforced concrete structures, masonry, aluminium and glass, iron work, finishing, installations, prefabricated facades, signage, equipment and furniture for a total of 350,000m² of internal work and 150,000m² of external work.
ICA began sinking the friction piles for the foundations in September 2005. At the same time, ICA and Austrian partner Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH & Co (DCC), part of the Doppelmayr / Garaventa Group, started work on the Automated People Mover (APM), a shuttle train (a 3.025m CABLE liner shuttle) to carry passengers between the two airport terminals.
ICA and DCC won the turnkey APM contract at the end of July 2005 after all their rivals dropped out.
The consortium offered a contract of $63.7m (€52m) for the work. The shuttle was ready for operation in April 2007.
The CABLE liner shuttle system has two stations and a total length of 3.025km and takes 4.5 minutes to transport over 540 passengers an hour between the two terminals. There is one train with four cabins (capacity 100 passengers per journey), which travels at 12.5m a second (46km/h). The system can be upgraded to a capacity of 800 passengers an hour in order to cope with future increased passenger requirements.
The extremely short realisation period of 19 months was made possible due to the well thought out and sophisticated modular design of the CABLE liner shuttle system. The CABLE liner shuttle system will reduce transfer times for passengers and help to augment the extensive modernisation work to the airport.
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