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Work Underway on El Salvador’s ‘Bitcoin City Airport’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A top-down view of a plane on top of the national flag of El Salvador.
Source: Global Image Archive/Adobe

El Salvador has broken ground on the construction of an airport for its Bitcoin City project.

Around a month ago, the YouTuber Albert Sánchez uploaded what he claimed was aerial footage of construction crews working on the site.

The airport is to be known as the Pacífico Airport, but will also go by the moniker of Bitcoin City Airport.

Criptonoticias and domestic media outlets reported that the airport construction will “go hand-in-hand with the construction of Bitcoin City.”

The city construction project will see El Salvador build a settlement at the foot of a volcano, where geothermal power will be used to provide power to the city and mine Bitcoin (BTC).

The government first unveiled the plan in late 2021, claiming that Bitcoin City would allow its residents to do tax-free business in a nation where BTC has legal tender status.

After BTC prices fell last year, some speculated that the project may have been shelved.

These rumors gathered pace when the nation failed to start work on the project in 2022, following government claims ground would be broken on the city last year.

More doubts surfaced when a government ministry appeared to suggest earlier this year that it had no knowledge of the Bitcoin City project.

But a government-linked body last month confirmed that the Bitcoin City construction plans are still in place.

And the airport project appears to confirm that President Nayib Bukele’s BTC dreams are still very much alive.

The media outlet reported that “heavy machinery” is now “removing earth” at the construction site.

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El Salvador: Airport Is Bitcoin City’s ‘Sister Project’

The Autonomous Executive Port Commission (CEPA) has allocated the project an initial $73 million budget, but the total cost of the airport is estimated at $350 million.

The government green-lighted the start of construction work after the project “received the necessary environmental permits to erect the complex.”

Several videos have been uploaded to social media sites shows excavators “belonging to the Ministry of Public Works” working on the town of Flor de Mangle, in the department of La Unión, Eastern El Salvador.

This corresponds with the official plans for the airport.

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But local community members have expressed their displeasure with the move, which they say is taking a perilous toll on the area’s animal and plant life.

Community leaders say that “at least 52 families living in the area” will have to be “relocated.”

Bukele’s government has spoken of the airport and Bitcoin City as being “sister projects,” as both were revealed at the same time.

And both were designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero.

The government hopes that its long-awaited (and much-delayed) Bitcoin bonds issuance will help finance the projects.

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A senior Bitfinex executive last month claimed that the BTC bonds issuance would take place this summer.

In the United States, however, senators have expressed concerns about Bukele and his BTC adoption plans, and have called on the government to launch a risk report.