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Tulum Takes Flight: Mexico’s Newest Airport Welcomes Inaugural Flights

Viva Aerobus and Aeroméxico have begun operations at Tulum, with Delta, United, American, and Spirit to launch flights in early 2024

by Fergus Cole

December 6, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of @FL360aero on Twitter

The Riviera Maya’s hotly anticipated brand-new airport officially opened its doors to passengers last week, with Mexican low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus operating the first-ever commercial flight to land in Tulum.

Tulum’s Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport (TQO) has been under construction since 2022. The airport is situated on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near the Caribbean coast. On Friday, December 1, the first four commercial flights, all operated by domestic Mexican carriers, landed at the airport.

At least 4 U.S. airlines are expected to start operating from the airport in the coming months.

The first flight to Tulum was a Viva Aerbous service from Mexico City’s Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU), which reportedly touched down at 1:15 PM local time with 179 passengers onboard.

On Friday, Viva Aerobus also operated flights to Tulum from Mexico City International Airport (MEX) and Monterrey International Airport (MTY), carrying 186 and 155 passengers, respectively. A fourth flight, operated by Mexican flag carrier Aeroméxico, also arrived in Tulum from MEX.

“We celebrate this new infrastructure project, which is so significant for the Riviera Maya, which will provide more route options and better prices for passengers,” said Juan Carlos Zuazua, CEO of Viva Aerobus.

Photo: Tulum Airport. Courtesy of Quintana Roo

“We will continue to support these new projects, just as we did when the new airport in Mexico City was inaugurated, celebrating the development of key infrastructure works for our country.”

Viva Aerobus will begin new domestic routes to Tulum from Guadalajara (GDL) and Tijuana (TIJ) later this month. At the same time, Aeroméxico will operate two daily flights from Mexico City.

The first international flights to Tulum are scheduled to begin next spring, with no less than 4 U.S. carriers confirming new flights to the airport.

Photo: Tulum Airport. Courtesy of Quintana Roo

Delta was the first U.S. airline to announce services to Tulum, which will launch daily flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) on March 28, 2024. The same day, American Airlines will begin operating daily flights to Tulum from Charlotte (CLT) and Miami (MIA), as well as two daily flights from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW).

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines will also launch flights to Tulum on March 28, with nonstop services from Orlando (MCO) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

Finally, on March 31, United will launch Tulum flights from Newark Liberty (EWR), Houston George Bush (IAH), and Chicago O’Hare (ORD), with a fourth service from Los Angeles (LAX) expected to launch in late May.

Photo: United Airlines, Boeing 737-800. Courtesy of Denver International Airport.

As it grows, Tulum’s new airport will compete with the well-established Cancun International Airport (CUN), the main gateway to the popular tourist hotspot of the Riviera Maya. It will also help to ease logistical burdens on Cancun as it struggles to cope with ever-increasing demand for travel to the region.

Passengers will soon benefit from the brand-new Mayan Train route, which will open to the public in February 2024.

The new train route will connect Tulum, in the state of Quintana Roo, to five other states across southern Mexico – Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan – giving international passengers direct access to previously hard-to-reach destinations.