Mexico’s government on Wednesday unveiled the winning design for a new, futuristic, spider-shaped airport for the capital that will ease delays and boost capacity at a cost of 120 billion pesos ($9.17 billion) (5.57 billion British pound) in public and private funding.
British architect Norman Foster and Fernando Romero, a son-in-law of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, showcased their winning, airy design in the form of an X with arching spans at the presidential palace.
The new six-runway project will be built next to the Benito Juarez International Airport on the eastern flank of Mexico City, where the government already owns land.
“This airport is the first of its kind in the world,” Foster said. “It doesn’t have a conventional roof. It doesn’t have vertical walls. It doesn’t have columns in the normal sense.”
He cited challenges that include frequent earthquakes and the fact that the capital lies on a lake bed.
Telecoms and Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said he expected construction to start in mid-2015.
The government is in negotiations with U.S. engineering firm Parsons to take on the role of construction manager, he said.
Mexico’s government will finance the first stage of the new airport and aims to issue up to 30-year bonds to finance later stages, a senior project official said.
Federico Patino, financial director of the project, said it would be financed through 2016 using money from the government’s budget and two loans totaling up to $3 billion, and backed by earnings from the current airport.