October 17, 2019 / 1:13 PM / a month ago

Mexican president delays international airport opening to 2022

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during an official event to mark the beginning of the construction of a new international airport, at the Santa Lucia military airbase in Zumpango, on the outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday a commercial airport north of Mexico City will be inaugurated by April 2022, pushing back earlier target opening dates after a slew of legal hurdles slowed work on the project.

The site of the new airport is a military base slated to be expanded into an international airport that would replace a partially built, $13 billion airport that Lopez Obrador canceled shortly after his election victory last year. At the time, he denounced the project as costly, geologically unsound and riddled with corruption.

His abrupt decision to cancel the project rattled investor confidence and sparked a sell-off in Mexican financial assets.

Speaking at an event at the Santa Lucia military base to mark the start of construction, Lopez Obrador said the project had been held back by “adversaries” who committed “legal sabotage.”

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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