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Work Is Paused On The Tulum International Airport Project

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Funding Issues Freeze Progress On An Already Hampered Project

Construction work on the new Tulum International Airport has been temporarily paused due to funding problems. No date has been given on the project’s restart.

tulum coastline

In what will be a major blow to the tourist industry in Quintana Roo, the eagerly anticipated airport will now no longer meet its completion date set for the end of 2024. It was already unlikely to achieve this goal, after a seven month delay, but the new halt has solidified this.

The project was being handled by the Mexican military, which revealed in its recent budget report that no funding had been allocated to the airport for 2024, allowing for several other infrastructural works to continue. The airport was part of Mexican President AMLO’s major promises and is likely to have political ramifications for him.

tulum rainforest

The airport was being designed as a secondary hub to Cancun’s own international airport. While traffic was never going to be as high as its neighboring airport, Tulum’s project could enable a further four million tourists to visit Quintana Roo a year. It was being styled in a similar manner to Mexico City’s new overflow airport.

The only suggestion the project will restart has come in the form of multiple reports stating that stronger financial times will be needed. This could be a matter of months, but based on the funding reports, it could stretch the development across several years, something the tourist industry was not anticipating.

The nearby Maya Train project may be one of the reasons funding was no longer allocated to the airport. Initial cost projections for the tourist train line have proven to be significantly lower than the actual price, and millions more have been sent its way for 2023.

Of course, the Maya Train has faced its own problems. One of the many reasons its funding will have been increased is to account for the regular route replanning that has taken place. Construction along the route has uncovered masses of Mayan archeological sites, which have become protected land, forcing the railway to move.

This is what environmental groups and historians had warned would happen to the history-rich region when they piled enough pressure on the project to halt it entirely by law. The government eventually had to use emergency funding to circumvent the block, and construction has since restarted. 

The Maya Train and Airport were originally set to open in tandem. The idea being to herald in a new era of tourism in the region. The airport itself is supposed to have a train station on the route, which will traverse the entirety of the Yucutan peninsula, allowing relatively unknown Mayan sites, cultural areas, and historical towns to come to light for a new wave of tourists.

tulum coastline

The airport would be a huge asset for many tourists. Currently, those hoping to visit Tulum must fly into Cancun and then make an hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive to Tulum, either by rental car, bus, or even taxi – a pricey trip if done wrong. The airport would have removed that step for millions of tourists bound for Tulum, and opened up the region to even more.

Other funds are also being directed toward many of Cancun’s road problems. The main road in Cancun, Blvd Colosio, will be moving forward with added funds, and a new road will be built to help ease congestion in the area by spreading vehicles around different zones. Congestion around the Cancun Airport will also be invested in, with the rejuvenation of roads there.

cancun airport

The also delayed Nichupté Vehicle Bridge will also continue. The large bridge will begin work in 2023 and will seek to connect the hotel zone with the rest of the city. It’s a major works program that will likely not be completed for several years.

tulum roads from above

It seems for now the Maya Train is the main project to look forward to, but with any luck the Tulum Airport will be back in business in the coming years. 

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Friday 16th of September 2022

The lack of overseeing the complete picture is astonishing.The Tulum airport, if finished already, would reduce traffic in the Cancún area noticeably. The government holds the Tulum project back, while road works related to the Mayan train hamper the only two terrestrial accesses to Cancún and tourists are already asked to get on their way to the airport 5 hours prior to their scheduled flight. On top of this someone has decided to reconstruct the main access road within Cancún at the same time and also reconstruct alternative escape roads like for instance the avenue 135. On top of this they have begun to build a bridge from the center of Cancún tu the Hotel area, another mayor traffic obstruction. In order to accelerate traffic on the remaining roads they construct speed breakers, topes, and traffic lights as if they wäre convinced that speed breakers accelerate traffic. For the inhabitants from Cancún this is a long lasting nightmare since we have to get to work, take our children to school and try to live our normal I've. The total la k of logic and coordination has led to this situation. Cancelling the Tulum airport is just another example of the stupid and erratic actions from our government. I wonder if we hear something about it at the 6:00 o'clock press conferences...