Long wait times at Cancun’s busy international airport have been a source of annoyance to tourists, who have reported waiting up to two hours to enter the country. To address the issue, Mexican authorities are continuing to implement improvements to reduce waiting times at immigration checks and speed up entry formalities. With the upcoming installation of digital passport checks at the airport, waiting times are expected to further improve.
Tourists flying to Cancun have been reporting unusually long waiting times at passport and customs checks this year. The issue was especially worrisome in March when passengers reported queues of up to two hours. As the Mexican Caribbean heads into a record-breaking summer season, authorities are hopeful that new adjustments will make passing through the airport a more pleasant experience for visitiors.
Immigration officials have already taken steps to address excessive wait times at the airport this year by hiring new staff during peak hours. However, representatives from Cancun’s tourist industry say that more needs to be done to further improve immigration checks and speed up other airport formalities. This is especially important considering the high number of international visitors flocking to Cancun this summer, most notably from the United States.
According to Eduardo Domínguez Ibarra, the executive vice-president for Cancun’s Hotel Association, there have been significant improvements in wait times at the airport. Some arrival halls have managed to decrease wait times from two to one hour during peak travel times. He says that as a result of various meetings held with immigration authorities in March, the airport was able to expedite migration controls including passport and customs checks.
The National Institue for Migration (INM) oversees immigration checks in Mexico and is implementing new electronic border checks which are expected to help facilitate international arrivals in Cancun. The new digitalized border controls, which use biometric technology, are a novelty for Mexican airports, and immigration officials are getting ready to implement their use. Back in March, the airport reported hiring over 100 additional border guards and customs officials to help deal with increased passenger flows.
Wait times also depend on the arrival terminal as well as the total amount of scheduled flights, which greatly impacts passenger flow. Terminal 2 reported an average wait time of just 7 minutes according to figures from April. Meanwhile, terminals 3 and 4 reported average wait times of between 8 and 15 minutes. However, during peak hours, travelers can expect to wait up to an hour to complete immigration checks.
Despite the promising news, travelers are still reporting long wait times at customs checks, especially for certain destinations from other Caribbean and South American destinations, which authorities hope to address. Moreover, several of the companies offering shuttle services to arriving tourists are reporting delays in baggage claims, a situation that tourism operators expect to resolve later on in the year.
Cancun International Airport Expecting Record Passenger Traffic
The busy summer vacation season is kicking off as international travel rebounds following a two-year pandemic shutdown. May already saw more than two million people pass through Cancun’s International Aiport, and although June’s traffic statistics aren’t available yet, authorities are hopeful for a new record.
With some 60% of the airport’s traffic coming from the United States, Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are one of the top destinations for U.S travelers this year. Cancun enjoys excellent connections to major U.S cities and is served by both legacy and low-cost carriers.
Despite the recent rise in reported COVID cases in the state, Cancun airport continues to see a large number of international flights as tourists flock to the area’s beaches and all-inclusive resorts.
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