Tulum Beach, Riviera Maya

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.”


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