San Diego-Tijuana Airport Cross-Border Airport Plan Gets Green Light
Plans to build and operate a San Diego-Tijuana International Airport cross-border airport terminal received final approval and construction should begin shortly, officials said last week.
The plan calls for a 525 foot (160 meter) long pedestrian bridge that connects the Tijuana airport terminal to a 65,000-square-foot structure on the U.S. side where a U.S. customs and immigration facility would be manned seven days a week by Customs and Border Protection officers. The facility would also include parking, shops, and restaurants.
The facility is being designed to provide passengers direct access to the terminal from the United States. Departing passengers can park their cars in San Diego and walk across a bridge that crosses the border to the terminal. Arriving passengers would clear U.S. customs at the new facility without any of the delays common at local border crossings.
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, or GAP, the Mexican company that operates the airport, is said to be investing $13.5 million in the project. It will expand the Tijuana terminal and build a section of the bridge to the United States. Construction at the airport began last fall.
The U.S. side of the project is being developed by Otay-Tijuana Venture, which recently agreed to not only assume the cost of the customs facility, but pay for its operation as well.
Tijuana Airport, its official designation is General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport, first opened in 1958 and was designed to handle up to ten million passengers per year and 360 flights per day. Over 4.5 million passengers used the airport in 2013, and it is Mexico’s fifth busiest. Aeromexico is the primary airline operating out of the airport.
The U.S. Department of State first issued a Presidential Permit authorizing the creation of the San Diego-Tijuana Airport cross-border facility at the international boundary between the United States and Mexico in 2010.
The project has been met with delays, in part due to negotiations over who would pay for the operation of the U.S. customs facility, and was originally scheduled to open in 2014.
Many travelers flying out of Tijuana airport currently come from California, drawn by lower airfares.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)