Last friday (September 2nd, 2011), the Mexican federal secretary of Transport and Communications Dionisio Pérez Jácome announced the Tulum Airport project will be suspended again, along with other four important infrastructure projecs in Mexico (a port in Baja California and suburban trains in Mexico City).
The official reason behind this surprising decision was that “all the projects required a new return on investment analysis”. Other off-the-record versions indicate the Mexican Government could be embarking in an austerity plan do the shaky status of the global financial markets, while other say the lobby from ASUR, the operator of the Cancún airport may have played a role.
Expectation for the re-launch of the Mayan Riviera Airport project is rising as Quintana Roo’s Governor, Mr Roberto Borge Angulo announced that he is expecting the head of the SCT (the federal Communitations and Transport secretariat) Dionisio Pérez-Jácome Friscione to visit the Mayan Riviera before the end of the month. The main purpose of the visit would be the airport project announcement.
Mr Angulo also commented on the recent approval by the Environment Secretariat (SEMARNAT) of a new highway, a 26 km (16 miles) detour that will circumvent the Tulum town and will have a 5.7km (3.5 miles) deviation leading into the new airport.
Last June 13th 2011, the under-secretary of Infrastructure Fausto Barajas confirmed that the international bidding process for the construction of the Mayan Riviera Airport (the Tulum Airport) will be re-launched after the failed auction of last May 20th. Mr Fausto Barajas confirmed the development of tourism infrastructure is high priority for the SCT (Transport and Communications Secretariat).
The announcement happened just after a meeting between the governor of the Quintana Roo state (where Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun are located) Mr Roberto Borge Angulo and Dionisio Pérez Jácome, the head of the SCT.
The auction still does not have a date, the functionaries committed publicly to start working on that after the said announcement. The project has a priority in the federal agenda as the tourism sector represents just over 10% of Mexico’s GDP. The Mayan Riviera Airport project is estimated to cost some $270m, and there were at least 5 groups interested in the previous auction.
The Tulum (Mexico) Airport project is back and actively pushed by the Quintana Roo’s (the Mexican State where Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum are located) Roberto Borge Angulo. He had just (June 13th, 2011) had a meeting with the head of the SCT, the Federal Government transport secretariat, Mr. Dionisio Pérez Jácome to claim for a renewed bidding process. A former bidding process was declared “void” in May 2011 as according to the SCT none of the bidders complied with the technical requirements asked by the Federal Government.
Despite some people are suspicious the project could be a victim of a political struggle (the state is run by the PRI party, while the Federal Government is in the hands of the PAN party), the Tulum/Riviera Maya Airport project was sponsored by Juan Carlos Pereyra Escudero, a PRI state representative and supported unanimously by all the other parties in the Quintana Roo state, including the PAN.
Grupo Mexico (a large Mexican mining conglomerate) and its airport operation partners of Grupo Aeroportuario Pacifico (GAP) have just (June 1st 2011) challenged the Mexican Transport regulatory body’s (SCT) decision to cancel the auction of the Riviera Maya Airport (Tulum Airport).
On May 20th 2011, the SCT had found none of the technical offers had complied the Government requisites to build and operate the Tulum airport, expected to handle over 700.000 passengers a year.
The Grupo Mexico/GAP consortia and the Cancun Airport operator (ASUR-Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste) are having a strong lobby battle to determine if the latter can keep the monopoly on the Yucatan Peninsula best known beach resorts.
All these battles will have an important effect on Tulum real estate and developments. There are a lot of speculative land developments on the area near the airport project. Gossip goes around that top local politicians have heavily invested in land around the airfield.