There’s been another twist in the ongoing saga of the Tulum Airport saga after it emerged this week that the development has now secured the funding needed to go ahead with construction. Long since discussed by the relevant authorities to complement the ambitious Maya train development, the project was dealt a blow two months ago after funding was withheld from next year’s budget, leaving many to wonder whether the city will ever see an international airport.
However, it has been revealed that construction of the airport will go ahead as planned after a significant amount of funding was appropriated from a military fund that will go some way towards the completion of the project. Here’s everything we know so far about the plans to bring an international airport to Tulum, including where it will be located, why there is such strong opposition to the development, and the impact its creation will have on travelers.
Tulum Airport Developments – What Travelers Should Know
If ever a season summed up why Tulum was in need of its own airport, it is this upcoming winter season. Record-breaking numbers of travelers from all corners of the globe are preparing to descend upon the Mexican Caribbean this winter, flying into Cancun before many choose to go onwards to places such as Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, and, of course, Tulum. Adding an airport in popular Tulum will not only save passengers the hassle of a 120km drive, but it will ease the strain on Cancun’s airport, which finds itself handling increasingly large volumes of passengers.
Building an airport in Tulum isn’t a new idea, but the current development is facing similar struggles to other attempts to get the idea off the ground. Plans to build the airport in 2010 failed to take off, and there were serious doubts about the feasibility of the most recent efforts to build the airport – particularly as it was left out of recent budget plans. Finally, however, it has been confirmed that work on the airport can go ahead after receiving 14bn pesos from a military fund known as FPAPEM.
Despite construction beginning earlier this year, the project has already faced significant delays. Reports in the media stated that work on the airport was delayed for seven months following an investment study that called into question the feasibility of the project, though the latest tranche of investment from the military could help to speed the process up. Just last month, President López Obrador stated the project would be completed in 2023.
The airport will be located in the Felipe Carrillo Puerto municipality of Quintana Roo, close to a major highway that connects the area with Tulum, and it will also be connected to sections 5, 6, and 7 of the upcoming Maya Train – making transfers to and from the airport a breeze. It will serve as both a commercial and military airbase, with soldiers on hand to help deal with natural disasters and forest fires in the region.
President Obrador stated that the airport wasn’t being created to compete with Cancun but to work alongside it. Tulum International Airport is projected to serve as many as 4 million passengers per year, significantly easing the burden that Cancun currently finds itself under. For travelers who only visit Cancun to go to the airport, news of work continuing at Tulum’s airport is bound to be warmly received, cutting down travel times and bringing them closer to the ruins and wonder of this part of the Mexican Caribbean.
However, not everyone is excited about its impending development. An expert travel group has complained about the decision to build in Tulum, citing a lack of attractive hotel options, questionable transport links, and worries about demand for the airport. But, as the number of travelers heading to Tulum continues to grow, it seems the city’s long wait for an airport is finally coming when it’s needed it most – though whether or not it is completed by the end of 2023 remains to be seen.
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