Cancun International Airport is struggling to cope with record travel demand as thousands of sun-seeking tourists visit the Mexican Caribbean daily. To help cut down wait times at long immigration lines, the airport has hired more staff and is promising to accelerate migratory red tape.
Every experienced traveler knows how exhausting it can be to wait for hours after a long flight to pass immigration and customs checks. Cancun is no exception, and travelers there are familiar with the airport’s long lines and delays. For years already, tourism businesses have asked for changes to the system to facilitate entry into the country and to help tourists reach their destination.
This year has been no different, and with record-shattering travel numbers – up to 400,000 people are vacationing in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean each day – visitors have complained of long lines. The introduction of electronic kiosks has alleviated the issue somewhat, but with millions more headed to the region this summer, Cancun airport has hired more staff to keep traffic flowing.
It was recently announced that more than 130 officials would be mobilized to help in migration and customs-related tasks at the busy airport. Despite improvements in wait times over the past months, the airport is seeing more than 600 flights on some days, prompting authorities to ramp up efforts to minimize long lines. In a recent meeting that took place at the National Institute for Migration (INM), at least 8 agreements have been signed with the aim of improving the passenger experience at Cancun’s airport.
As part of the comprehensive deal, more staff will be hired to speed up entry checks and technological solutions will also be implemented. In order to ensure that the agreed measures are effective, a further meeting will be held in 30 days to analyze the effects. With new staff hired, there will be a total of 329 officials manning the airport’s international terminals – with the aid of electronic passport checks – and for now, authorities are hopeful they can help address the issues.
Cancun’s hotel associations, as well as other tourism industry businesses, have been highly vocal about the issue. According to them, tourists may spend up to two hours in long entry check lines, when they could be spending time relaxing on some of the country’s top beaches or spending time at their all-inclusive resort. Of course, the issue also affects tourists themselves, who have complained about missing their shuttle taxi or organized tour.
Last year, more than 7 million people passed through Cancun airport’s rigorous immigration line, according to the National Institute for Migration. This year, that number will be potentially much higher, highlighting the need to expedite formalities without compromising border security.
On top of long arrival lines, another issue that both passengers and airlines are having to confront this summer is the extensive infrastructure projects around the airport. As a result, some airlines – including Delate and Air Canada – have asked passengers to show up to 5 hours prior to departure. Indeed, Cancun’s Colosio Boulevard is more congested than ever, and with passengers scrambling to reach the airport, it’s a good idea to plan your trip to the airport well in advance to avoid missing your flight.
With a record-breaking summer in the making, millions are expected to visit Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. This year, however, passengers will simply have to put up with more delays due to unprecedented travel demand. The good news: once complete, the ongoing road renovations mean it will be smooth sailing for your next Cancun trip.
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