March 26, 2018 / 9:32 PM / 8 months ago

Cancelling new Mexico airport would cost $6.6 bln -company CEO

MEXICO CITY, March 26 (Reuters) - Cancelling the new Mexico City airport would cost about 120 billion pesos ($6.55 billion), the head of the company in charge of the project said on Monday following threats by the presidential election front-runner to scrap it.

Federico Patino, the chief executive officer of Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México (GACM), the firm overseeing the $13 billion project, said with 321 contracts put out and around 45,000 people employed on building the airport, the cost would be high.

“There will surely be lawsuits and damages with penalty clauses ... and if we add this to the unfortunate cancellation of the labor on top of severance costs ... the figure that we have is around 120 billion pesos,” he told a news conference.

The leftist who is leading opinion polls for the July election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has threatened to abandon the airport. Last week he said he would file legal challenges to block future work, lashing out at the project as “corrupt.”

However, he since softened his stance, calling for a thorough review of the project.

GACM’s Patino dismissed suggestions that the airport was tainted by corruption and said that it was being built in accordance with high transparency standards.

“It’s a glass box through which any citizen can see what’s happening in real time,” he said. ($1 = 18.3100 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Grant McCool)

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