The Tulum airport will see a decrease in waiting times for European travelers

New Airport in Tulum will serve 4 million passengers annually and will have a military base. According to the work program, the Tulum airport will begin operations in May 2024.

The Tulum airport will see a decrease in waiting times for European travelers
This is what the Tulum International Airport in Quintana Roo will look like. Images: SEDENA

The Tulum International Airport will improve the waiting time for European tourists at immigration, customs, and baggage collection, in addition to the fact that land trips to the hotel generally take two hours, since most of them are heading to the Riviera Maya.

"We will have to see the airlines that decide to go there (Tulum), I think there is an important demand for private flights, I also think there will be a demand for some of the flights from South America that arrive, those coming from Europe... we must consider that most of the tourists arriving by air go to the Riviera Maya," said the general director of the Council for Tourism Promotion of Quintana Roo (CPTQ), Dario Flota Ocampo, as reported by La Jornada.

That is to say, even though Quintana Roo's tourist destinations have three airports, the fourth, which would be Tulum, has the viability to handle a good volume of passengers since Cancun International Airport operates between 500 and 600 daily flights, while Chetumal and Cozumel operate between seven and 14 routes, respectively.

"Cozumel's airport is having an impressive recovery, a growth compared to 2019; even in July, it was at almost 80 percent. There are many more flights than before, it is doing well," explained Flota, and added that, "the island's air terminal has international flights mainly to the United States and Canada: to Houston, Denver, and Chicago with United and Southwest (the latter also flies to Dallas), to Miami, Dallas, and Charlotte with American Airlines, and Montreal with Air Canada."

"This international airport will have the capacity to serve four million passengers annually. It will become the second-largest airport on the Peninsula. "In addition to a multipurpose military air base that will strengthen the security of the national airspace, help the civilian population in case of disasters and attend forest fires," said Brigadier General and engineer Gustavo Ricardo Vallejo Suárez, in charge of the construction of this terminal.

Tulum Airport 'Felipe Carillo Puerto' is scheduled to open in 2024

The new Tulum International Airport 'Felipe Carillo Puerto' will have the capacity to serve 4 million passengers per year. This new airport port will have a military base and will be integrated with the current highway system and the Mayan Train that is currently under construction.

This international airport will have the capacity to serve four million passengers per year. It will become the second-largest airport on the Yucatan Peninsula. In addition to a multipurpose military airbase that will strengthen the security of the national airspace, help the civilian population in case of disasters and attend to forest fires.

This airport will improve the supply of infrastructure to diversify passenger demand in the Riviera Maya. It will detonate tourism, and economic and social growth in the region, promoting access to a greater number of archaeological sites in the Mayan world.

A 10.5-kilometer commercial and service corridor will be built to connect Federal Highway 307 with the New Tulum International Airport. An airport city will be developed and urban growth will be reordered towards this corridor. The Felipe Carrillo Puerto Airport will have the largest and best quality runway in southeastern Mexico, with a length of 3,700 meters.

International Airport of the Riviera Maya
Hoteliers proposed to AMLO that the terminal in Tulum be named 'International Airport of the Riviera Maya'.

The executive project of the New Tulum Airport

Passenger terminal;
Military airbase;
Runway, aprons, and taxiways;
Fuel terminal;
Fixed and rotary-wing aircraft apron;
Parking for passengers, employees, cabs, rentals, and buses;
Access roads;
Mayan Train Station;
Cargo terminal;
Treatment plant and solid waste.

The new major construction project in Tulum must also be viewed critically. On the one hand, the region is economically dependent on tourism. Therefore, some locals expect the new airport to create new jobs in the tourism sector. Mexico, for its part, plans to build a Maya train in addition to the new airport. The Mayan train already requires some resources and construction time. But the new project is environmentally questionable because, according to critics, construction projects could endanger or destroy Mayan ruins, a world-class historical and cultural heritage site.

The Tulum International Airport will begin construction this year.
International Airport of the Riviera Maya

Tulum airport will have a city for the military

The future Tulum airport will have a new city for the military, however, this terminal will be civil-military, that is, it will also serve for passenger transportation, meeting the demand for travel in the Riviera Maya. The airport contemplates the construction of a building for the passenger terminal, boarding lounges, control tower, parking, and roads, in addition to the urban planning of a military city, main support buildings, and buildings for civilian airport services. It is expected to be ready in one year.

The Tulum airport will be the second in this modality, as well as the Santa Lucia Airport, "mixed civil-military, with the international category", assigned to Branch 7 of the National Defense and the pre-investment studies, which are in charge of the General Directorate of Engineers. The construction of the airport is aimed at facilitating traffic in the Tulum area. The civil-military airport of Tulum, after executing the first studies, its future will be a cargo logistics center, like the one in Santa Lucia.

The proposal is for the airport to become a cargo logistics center since the Army has proposed that in the future it will seek schemes for the private sector to participate "to reduce the risks and costs of the project, increasing its profitability and potential attractiveness".

Project of the New Tulum International Airport.
Project of the New Tulum International Airport. Image: Sedena

Design of Tulum Airport

The Tulum Airport was contemplated within the construction package of the Tren Maya, in addition to the fact that it is a work that was well-received by businessmen and hoteliers in the area, and that, according to the Mexican Government, will benefit the arrival of tourism to the region.

The planning indicates that the Tulum airport center, which was proposed to bear the name 'Riviera Maya', will be built in the border zone between the tourist destination and the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, in the center of Quintana Roo, where 1,100 hectares will be used for its construction.

Images of what the terminal will look like were published on the Facebook page called 'Aeropuerto Internacional Felipe Ángeles (AIFA)', where references to the Mayan Culture can be seen in the design of the façade and interiors of the building, which will have a stop for the Mayan Train.

Although it is not known if the design is the final one, nor who was in charge of the design, what is confirmed is that Sedena engineers will be in charge of its construction, as well as of sections 6 and 7 of the Federal Government's railway project.

How will the construction of the Tulum Airport catapult development?

With Tulum Airport under construction, real estate interest has increased. Investors were with the expectation that if the project was going to start, now it is something more concrete for their interests.

At the moment the value of the land in the ninth municipality, as well as in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, where the airport terminal will be built, has maintained its price, but this could change as the work progresses and especially when it starts operations. There has been a greater approach of people interested in buying land and developing different works.

It is not possible to give a precise estimate, but the trend is towards the construction of more works. At the same time, buyers and sellers should be cautious because the airport project is in the process of construction.

The proposal for the Tulum airport to be called Felipe Carrillo Puerto is supported, but the important thing is that this mega project is completed. In the end, the same situation will happen as in other airports in the country, such as Benito Juárez in Mexico City, where people name the airport after the city.

Felipe Carrillo Puerto was an important character in Mexico's history, but it was also suggested that the air terminal be named after a Mayan warrior. If there is a reason to name it Felipe Carrillo Puerto after this person, then so be it. That is to say, the name is not relevant, the important thing is that it is done, that it is finished. Indeed, it will end up being Tulum's airport.