This week, Cozumel Airport manager Jorge Campos Romero stated that significant improvements would be made to the building this year, in order to improve current facilities and accommodate the influx of North American tourists set to visit the Mexican Caribbean. Around “90 million pesos” are set to be invested in the rebuild at this time.
In particular, a new area for pre-checking into Customs, a new Immigration zone and additional toilets and administrative offices are thought to be priorities for the new construction.
Officials are also set to redesign the flow of passengers throughout the airport, allowing for better distancing and ventilation as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
Run by Aeropuetos Del Suresta (or ASUR), Cozumel International Airport has one terminal with 6 international gates and 2 domestic gates. There is also the Caral VIP Lounge for travellers with access to a Priority Pass as part of a premium flight.
The airport also contains a few restaurants, shops and rental car desks on-site, as well as free Wi-Fi. The terminal itself is fairly small, but many tourists report this to be an advantage as it usually takes under an hour to disembark a flight and complete passport control and customs.
Despite being one of the smaller airports in the state, air passenger traffic in Cozumel continued to rise throughout the pandemic. Mexico remained as one of the only countries in the world with relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, particularly for American tourists – 526,518 of which travelled to Cozumel by air in 2021 alone.
To keep up with the growing demand for travel across the year, Cozumel International Airport has to expand: the increased number of tourists visiting Cozumel across the summer combined with the fact that it is also a popular winter getaway means that renovations must happen rapidly. This is especially important for North American travellers, as there is now a greater number of flights connecting Americans and Canadians with Cozumel than ever before.
United Airlines now provides routes from Houston, Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago, whilst American Airlines flies from Miami, Dallas, and Charlotte. American Airlines also have a regular Saturday flight from Austin to Cozumel every Saturday, allowing tourists from the American south to experience the Caribbean paradise.
Frontier and Southwest airlines also provide connections from many of these American destinations at affordable prices, making it even easier to plan a summer vacation away on the Mexican-Caribbean coast.
Increased passenger traffic to Cozumel has also occurred due to the rising number of cruise ships that pass through the cruise terminal port. With over 4 million cruise passengers projected to pass through Cozumel in 2022 alone, airport facilities must be able to accommodate a vast amount of people who travel to the coastal city to embark on a Caribbean voyage.
Cozumel’s popularity has also increased significantly in recent years as an alternative destination to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen: whilst these two locations have something for everyone, many travellers are now considering staying in Cozumel as it is quieter and more private than staying on the mainland. As it is an island destination, Cozumel is perfect for avid snorkelers and divers, as well as having quintessential Caribbean white-sand beaches that are perfect to relax on.
This is not the first renovation that the airport has seen this year: recently, the tarmac in the parking area and directly outside the air terminal was resurfaced, making it easier for workers and passengers to drive around the airport.
Whilst Romero did not state the exact date that the renovation would be completed, construction is expected to be complete by next summer. However, some improvements to certain facilities with be completed by the end of this year.
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