Tulum Riviera Maya Airport Project | Terminal or Takeoff?

Tulum Real Estate Information

Tulum Riviera Maya Airport Project | Terminal or Takeoff?

Source: Hacienda Tres Rios Blog

In 2012, Tulum, home of the ancient Mayan ruins, will become even more popular than ever and not because of the Mayan prophecy of 2012. Instead, 2012 is the projected year that 3,700 acres (1.500 hectares) of Tulum jungle will be excavated for the first commercial airport in Mexico financed and operated privately by government concession, even though the first projected flights may not occur for four to five years.

Airport Pros & Cons

Tulum Mayan Ruins
Tulum Mayan Ruins

Planned for development 102 kilometers (63 miles) south of Cancun International Airport and 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Cozumel International Airport, the new Riviera Maya International Airport is considered an important addition to the region, since the nearby town of Playa del Carmen is becoming a popular resort town for American and European travelers. Aimed at increasing air travel and improving Mexico’s economy in the southeast region, transportation officials anticipate the airport will bring 700,000 passengers in the first year and 3 million by the third year.

-Since tourism is the third largest source of revenue in Mexico, the new airport will stimulate economic growth by increasing tourism, resort and residential real estate development, and construction jobs. Still, local and international communities are concerned about the impacts of the airport on the environment, since it will be built just 15.8 kilometers (10 miles) from the Tulum archaeological site of ancient Mayan ruins and will consume a huge section of rainforest and resident wildlife that could eventually lead to the extinction of various plant and animal species.

Riviera Maya Airports
Boaters using the 20 marinas in Quintana Roo and Yucatan will appreciate the huge new airport about to be built near Tulum. Located 66 nautical miles south of Cancun, the new Tulum airport will become “the gateway to the Riviera Maya,” according to Mexico’s secretary of communications and transportation (SCT). The official name for the Tulum airport has not yet been chosen, and bids for construction are still being sought. Riviera Maya is a marketing term referring to the 200-mile coast of Quintana Roo along the Yucatan Channel, where beachfront resorts provide a total of 37,000 hotel rooms. The new Tulum airport will cover 5 square miles of land, will have terminals and services for international and domestic airlines and will offer handy car rentals, hotels and tour agencies. The new airport is planned to open in 2013. The 20-year-old Cancun airport will stay open, for now, but travelers know it has become overcrowded and engulfed by the expanding suburbs of Cancun. Tulum was the ancient Mayan civilization’s astronomical observatory, built overlooking the ocean to take advantage of clear skies and an unobstructed horizon. No other Mayan sites were built near the ocean. Tulum today has no marina and offers no overnight anchoring inside the coral barrier reef. The nearest marinas to Tulum are located at Puerto Aventuras, Isla Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Juarez in the state of Quintana Roo — providing an estimated 6,000 boat slips combined. The adjacent state of Yucatan has a cluster of marinas in Puerto Yukalpeten, with another 1,000 boat slips.

Airport Development

As a result of the controversy and competitive issues, the planning and approval stages of the Riviera Maya International Airport have been delayed for a number of years, but the project ultimately received official authorization to continue. The airport will consist of the terminal building, platforms, taxiways, 3,450 meters (11,319 feet) of runway, a control tower, operational areas, a gasoline refueling station, and other related developments.

Riviera Maya International Airport
Riviera Maya International Airport

Since May 2010, development companies have been submitting bids to the Secretary of Communications and Transportation (SCT) which have been and continue to be evaluated.

The designated development company will be selected from the following approved developers once the bidding process is complete at the end of 2010 or January 2011:

• Ideal, owned by Carlos Slim
• Grupo México, owned by German Larrea
• Omega, owned by Andres Holzer
• Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte (OMA), owned by Víctor Bravo
• Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP)
• Boston Infrastructure Investment
• TAV Airports Company

Unfortunately, development of the new Rivera Maya airport may be delayed even further (or possibly cancelled in extreme circumstances) due to the crisis in the Mexican aviation industry with the recent operational suspension of Mexicana Airlines and the cessation of seven other airlines in the past four years.

Presently, the bidding continues through January 2011, when one of the aforementioned development companies will be granted a 50-year concession to construct and operate the estimated $256 million USD ($3-5 billion MXN) airport project.

Tulum’s mayor, Marciano Dzul Caamal affirms: ”Although the economic crisis may postpone the timeframe for completion, the project itself won’t be suspended.”

5 thoughts on “Tulum Riviera Maya Airport Project | Terminal or Takeoff?

  1. This new airport will be a big addition to the area and make our annual holiday even easier, it will be close enough to Tulum for conveince but far enough from Tulum not to be a problem.

    1. The Riviera Maya Airport was planned to stretch over the lagoons and mangroves that house thousands of birds, in the west Tulum area. In addition, this is the path of many migrating birds. For this reason alone, this airport should not be built, as we all know, when a bird is flying and the airplane is flying, in the same airspace, this is a mixture for clear and certain danger.
      There are also many other reasons why this airport should not be built. The world’s largest underground rivers are situated under the lands that the developers would like to use, and these just are not strong enough to hold the weigh of heavy equipment. As we all that live here see, many many many repairs in our road systems, as this phenomenon applies here too.
      For more information on this issue, please email cenotes@prodigy.net.mx and let’s set things straight.

  2. I think this airport is a disgrace! I am not even from the area but i can appreciate the the immense cultural, economic and ecological value of the ancient ruins and diverse wildlife found in the area. In particular, the thing that bothers me the most is that this airport is to be built on top of some of the largest underground aquifer systems in the world, which just so happen to supply a huge majority of mexico’s rainforests with freshwater. This airport will undoubtedly in some form alter these cave systems eg: pollution, tapping of the ground water systems, etc. These systems have remained untouched for thousands of years in fact there are ancient ruins and skeletons found in these cave systems which are so eagerly protected just 15kms away and yet in these caves they receive none. Also to think an alteration within them will not alter the land above it is naive.

    To build this airport is a ridiculous idea and for the convenience of what? So people dont have to drive an etxra few hours to their holiday destination. The world we live in today is nearing a tipping point, especially concerning water! and to still be thinking of developing areas like these makes me lose alot of my faith in humanity and hope of change…

    The Mexican government should be ashamed to allow such development all for money at the expense of their own country and inevitably their own people.

  3. i agree with the above comments!!!! The eco system is way more important and if people want to visit Play & Tulum – just drive from cancun airport – big deal it is only an hour or so. Leave the untouched beauty alone!!!!!

  4. I agree..as convient as it would be to have an airport in tulum to allow quick access to tulum and costa maya regions, we are willing to drive the extra time from Cancun to keep the environment natural. With the Mesoamerican Reef System, Cenotes, Natural Oasis Pools, Mayan Ruins, Eco Parks, etc, etc, etc….this area is a real jewel!

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