Construction has begun for an airport near the historic Machu Picchu sight, and Peruvians are not having it. Bulldozers arrived in January at the site of the project in the Sacred Valley, and on Tuesday, the Peruvian Ministry of Communications received proposals from South Korea, Turkey, Spain and Canada to develop the Chinchero International Airport. But many locals and experts have expressed concerns about the damage this could cause to the area.
“The airport planned to be built in Chinchero, Cusco, endangers the conservation of one of the most important historical and archeological sites in the world,” a petition created by well-known historian Natalia Majluf, a 2018-2019 visiting professor at Cambridge, says. Many archeologists, anthropologists and historians have signed the petition, which was created when the construction began and already has over 24,000 signatures.
The airport is set to occupy an area of almost 4,000 meters (over 13,000 feet), and is expected to serve five million passengers a year. “An airport in the surroundings of the Sacred Valley will affect the integrity of a complex Inca landscape and will cause irreparable damage due to noise, traffic and uncontrolled urbanization,” the creators of the petition say.
The petition also acknowledged that the site merits easier access for tourists, but notes that there are other nearby areas where the airport could be built.