Tijuana International Airport
Tijuana International Airport, also known as General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport, is located just south of the Mexico-U.S. international border and several miles east of the Tijuana city center. The airport serves passengers throughout Northern Baja California and U.S. residents in San Diego County looking for cheaper flights to destinations in Mexico. Tijuana International Airport is the fifth busiest in Mexico, handling 3.5 million passengers per year. With an ability to handle up to 10 million passengers per year, the airport has room for significant growth. It is also the only airport in Mexico to offer a non-stop flight to Asia.
History of Tijuana Airport
Tijuana International Airport was built in 1958 as a replacement to Tijuana’s existing air facility. It was incorporated by the Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares in 1965, a federally owned corporation that exists to fund and support Mexican airports. By 1970, traffic and population growth in Tijuana was large enough to justify the construction of an additional terminal; the Mexican Armed Forces took over the old terminal. The capacity of Tijuana International was doubled in 2002 when additions were made to the existing concourses. Current renovations will modernize the main terminal with new facilities and ground transportation options.
Plans for a bi-national terminal, called Project Smart Border 2010, were created to address concerns about San Diego International Airport becoming too congested to handle growing traffic demands. Due to Tijuana International’s very close proximity to the U.S. border, plans have been made to construct a terminal for passengers on the U.S. side; a bridge would connect the U.S. terminal with the airport facilities on the other side of the border. This plan would allow San Diego residents to access various destinations in Mexico without going through Lindbergh Field in San Diego, easing the congestion on San Diego International.
The design and layout of Tijuana International Airport is relatively simple compared to other modern airports. It consists of a single runway and parallel taxiway that feed into a single terminal with two concourses. The runway is large enough to support most jet aircraft, including the Boeing 747, but the airport handles mostly small to medium size planes. The two-concourse terminal has 10 modern jetways and many parking spaces that can be used for traditional boarding by stairs. An old runway and terminal that made up the original airport still exist southwest of the newer facilities, but they are no longer in use.
Transportation & Parking
There are four different ground transportation options for passengers looking to get to and from the city. A local bus travels to the airport from downtown or Zona Rio for less than a dollar. Two of the airlines at Tijuana International provide shuttle service between the airport and San Diego International to help passengers make connecting flights. Mexican law makes the taxi situation at Tijuana International unusual. Taxis are allowed to drop off passengers at the main terminal, but city taxis are not allowed to pick up arriving passengers. As a result, transportation to locations throughout the Tijuana area are provided by federally owned taxi companies and other authorized transportation services. A relatively small parking garage is located just north of the terminal, but personal vehicles are not a popular transportation option for passengers at Tijuana International Airport.