Despite recent expansions at MID, Yucatán’s state government is still considering a new airport for Mérida.
Industry insiders have speculated that the cost of the new airport is likely to surpass 10 billion pesos. Government sources have hinted that the bulk of the expense is likely to be absorbed by private companies. But the burden to taxpayers is still likely to be considerable.
The location of the proposed airport has not been confirmed, but the local business community has long suggested that it is likely to be in Umán.
“We are open to several options. We will have to find an extension of land which meets all of our requirements and will allow the project to continue to grow into the future,” said Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal.
The governor also highlighted the importance of conducting a detailed analysis of wind patterns at all proposed sites to ensure their viability and safety.
Building a new airport has been an ambition common to several state administrations dating back to the governorship of Patricio Patrón Laviada from 1997 to 2001.
But given the size and capacity of the existing Manuel Crescencio Rejón Airport, many are left wondering why such a move is being considered in the first place.
“We need to be concentrating on more urgent issues. We need to work to reactivate our tourism industry and create jobs, not spending millions on projects that we don’t really need and no one asked for,” said Jorge Carrillo Sáenz, leader of Yucatán’s tourism business council.
Some in the business community have suggested investing more heavily in secondary airports such as the inactive facility in Kaua, near Chichén Itzá.
Mérida’s existing airport handles both domestic and international flights and is open 24 hours a day. It is capable of accommodating aircraft as large as Boeing 747s and 777s. However, most planes flying on a daily basis are smaller, the most common being the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
“The current airport works just fine, it is really quite good. It seems to me that its facilities are likely to do the job for a long time,” said a tourism industry expert, Jorge Escalante Bolio.