Tijuana International Airport Unveils New Transit Facility for Prospective Long-Haul Flights – AirlineGeeks.com
By Albert Kuan
Tijuana International Airport Unveils New Transit Facility for Prospective Long-Haul Flights
Last Monday, Tijuana, Mexico’s International Airport expanded its terminal space, opening a new passenger processing facility that will further facilitate the transit of Tijuana Airport travelers between Mexico and the United States. The new facility consists of 52 check-in counters, 6 security screening lanes, 2 boarding gates and 6 immigration booths.
The new 430,000 square foot facility — coined the “Nuevo Edificio Procesador” (or New Processing Building) — was built in a record time of less than 24 months at a cost of 5,690,000 Mexican Pesos ($300 million). The Nuevo Edificio Procesador is aimed at accommodating the exponential growth of travelers the airport expects to see in the coming years.
The facility is also part of greater plan by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, the airport authority for Tijuana Airport, to establish an international hub in Tijuana, as a gateway to different destinations in Mexico. The airport authority is targeting bringing more international service to the airport and already has its sights set on long-haul service to Asia and South America.
Currently the airport is only served by domestic flights within Mexico. The Governor of Baja California, Marina Del Pilar Ávila Olmeda, pointed out the return of international routes is already in the works.
“We are going for more flights and to recover those that go to Asia that could not continue due to the pandemic,” said Ávila Olmeda. “We are working with the Ministry of the Interior to make modifications to the migration law that allows us to have more traffic.”
Tijuana Airport is a binational airport located immediately south of the U.S. border and is connected to San Diego by Cross Border Xpress (CBX) — an enclosed pedestrian bridge that allows travelers to cross easily between the Mexico and United States without needing to leave the airport. The bridge has been in operation since 2015 and has seen an exponential growth in users, resulting in increased waiting times for check-in, security and immigration for travelers in both directions.
With no travel restrictions for foreign travelers to Mexico during Covid-19, more than 2.7 million travelers used CBX in 2021, according to CBX. Travel restrictions for foreigners traveling by land to the United States were lifted by November 2021. According to the CBX, the bridge is expected to be used by at least four million people during 2022.
To strengthen Tijuana Airport’s growth transition into an international hub, hotels and restaurants are in the works for the surrounding area of the CBX terminal in San Diego. This will also include a business center with offices and conference areas, an on-site car rental facility and more spaces for parking.
By 2034, it is estimated that more than 17 million passengers will fly through Tijuana Airport. More than 3,757,000 passengers traveled through the airport during the first four months of 2022, a growth of 36% over the same period in 2019. 30% of those travelers arrived through CBX.
The airport has one of the greatest connectivity in Mexico with more than 37 direct flights to destinations across the country.
Volaris is currently the airline with the largest presence in Tijuana, with VivaAerobus and Aeroméxico having second and third largest presence respectively. Aeromexico operated services to Tokyo and Shanghai from Tijuana, Mexico, originating in Mexico City, before phasing them out for a direct, non-stop service with the delivery of their Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Hainan Airlines operated flights from Beijing to Tijuana, Mexico for a short period from 2018 to 2020, but international service ended with Hainan’s departure from Mexico during Covid-19.