It’s a huge day for Quintana Roo, as Tulum’s new airport has just welcomed its first commercial flight…
In this post:
The basics of Tulum’s new international airport
The Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport (TQO) in Tulum, Mexico, has started commercial operations as of December 1, 2023.
This airport has been a long time coming — bidding for construction started well over a decade ago, in 2011. However, nothing happened for many years, and when Andrés Manuel López Obrador became president of Mexico in 2018, the project wasn’t a priority.
However, with Tulum’s increasing popularity, combined with capacity limitations at Cancun Airport, the project once again became a priority in late 2022. Amazingly enough, just one year later, construction is complete, and the airport is operational.
The airport features a mighty long 12,000 foot runway, and is located on roughly five square miles of land. The airport has 12 gates, and there will also be a military base at the airport. Speaking of the military, the airport is actually being run by the military, much like the secondary Felipe Angeles International Airport (NLU) in Mexico City.
The new airport is expected to create more than 15,000 new jobs in Quintana Roo, and the goal is to attract more than five million passengers annually. This should become the second busiest airport on the Yucatan Peninsula, after Cancun International Airport (CUN). It’ll have significantly more traffic than Cozumel International Airport (CZM), which sees fewer than a million passengers per year.
Mara Lezama, the Governor of Quintana Roo, shared the below pictures of the new airport.
Below is a video of the terminal.
Planned air service to Tulum’s new Airport
Initially, Tulum’s new airport will only see domestic service, with flights to the following destinations:
- Aeromexico Connect will fly to Mexico City
- Viva Aerobus will fly to Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Tijuana
Then as of late March 2024, we’re going to see the airport open up to international airlines. Four US airlines have already announced plans to start flying to Tulum from the following airports:
- American Airlines will fly from Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami
- Delta Air Lines will fly from Atlanta
- Spirit Airlines will fly from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando
- United Airlines will fly from Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Newark
Given that we’re seeing more than once daily frequencies in come of these markets, we can expect over a dozen nonstop peak day flights between the United States and Tulum, and that’s before more service is even added. Wow.
I’m curious to see how demand evolves over time, especially in the off season. It seems that airlines are going all-in now, though those demand expectations don’t always materialize the way airlines hope.
If nothing else, this should alleviate a little congestion at Cancun Airport, since historically most people traveling to Tulum have flown into there.
Tulum’s new airport has just accepted its first passenger flight, which is a major development. While the idea for the airport goes back over a decade, construction only really started in late 2022, so it’s impressive how quickly the airport has opened.
The military-run airport has a 12,000 foot runway and 12 gates. It’s now welcoming domestic flights, and as of March 2024, it’ll open to international flights. This is great for travelers looking to visit the region. Those who liked Tulum for being a bit quieter than Cancun probably won’t be happy about this development. Then again, Tulum hasn’t exactly been off the radar for quite some time now…
What do you make of the new airport in Tulum?