President proposes boost to capital airport

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico president Vicente Fox unveiled a proposal to expand the airport here, increasing capacity to 30 million passengers a year from the current 20 million.

The proposal, which is expected to open soon for bids by developers, would increase capacity by 50% by adding a second story to the existing terminal.

The plan also would have passengers use other airports to shift flights away from Mexico's capital. Passengers would be routed through nearby airports in Toluca, Queretaro and Puebla as well as more distant airports in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Cancun.

The idea is to have passengers travel from one airport to another around Mexico City, much as travelers to London might arrive at Heathrow and leave from Gatwick.

Violent protests by farmers and leftist supporters forced the government last year to abandon plans for a much larger airport 14 miles east of Mexico City. That facility would have been able to handle as many as 90 million passengers a year.

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