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A handout photograph provided on Sept. 3, 2014 by the president of Mexico shows a mockup of the future airport of Mexico City, which Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto said will be 'modern', 'a symbol of Mexican identity' and the future of the country. The project, designed by British architect Norman Foster and Mexican Fernando Romero, was presented during a ceremony at presidential residency of Los Pinos in Mexico City. The new terminal will have six runways and will cover up to 120 million passengers per year, four times bigger of the capacity of the current airport wirh an investment of 9.2 billion dollars. EPA/Presidency of Mexico / HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES ORG XMIT: MEX02 / Handout/EPA

MEXICO (AP) - British architect Norman Foster and Mexico's Fernando Romero have had their design chosen for Mexico City's new $9.2-billion airport, Mexican

authorities announced Wednesday.

Communications and Transportation Department Secretary Gerardo Ruiz said both architects were picked by a committee on Tuesday.

Foster is one of the world's leading architects and designed the Beijing Terminal 3 airport. Romero is the son-in-law of Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim.

The new Mexico City airport will cover nearly 11,400 acres (4,600 hectares) of former lakebed adjacent to the present, over-crowded facility. It will have six runways and capacity to serve 120 million passengers per year when it is finished. The old airport can handle only 32 million passengers per year. It will eventually be turned over to the city for recreational and educational use.

The project will require an investment of $9.16 billion (120 billion pesos), Ruiz said.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said three runaways are expected to be up and running by 2020 and handle 50 million passengers per year.

The airy, lightweight, membrane-roofed terminal is designed in the form of a giant "X."

It will be "a modern, on the vanguard (project) that will have a great dose of Mexican symbolism and that without a doubt will be a reference around the world and a great door" into Mexico, Ruiz said.

Mexican officials said they hope the new airport, which is expected to be fully completed in 50 years, becomes the main air hub in Latin America.

Foster, who has received some of the world's top architecture awards, including the Pritzker, said the airport will have monumental spaces that can be used for art exhibitions.

Romero, who designed Carlos Slim's Soumaya museum and is the billionaire's son-in-law, said the airport will honor the Mexican flag's coat of arms, which has an eagle on top of a cactus that is devouring a snake and is a reference to Tenochtitlan, the pre-Colombian city where the capital is built on. The entrance to the terminal will have a garden of cacti and other elements to symbolize the snake and the eagle's wings.

In 2002, the government tried to expropriate the land from a group of farmers on the outskirts of Mexico City to build a new airport. But after violent clashes with the farmers from the town of San Salvador Atenco the government dropped the airport plan.

The airport proposed by Pena Nieto's administration will be built on federal land.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: Norman Foster, Romero to build Mexico airport

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