Tijuana International Airport

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Tijuana International Airport
General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport
View of Terminal 1
TIJ is located in Mexico
Location of airport in Mexico
Airport type Public, Military
Operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico
Serves Tijuana-San Diego
Location Tijuana, Baja California
Hub for Volaris
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 149 m / 489 ft
Coordinates 32°32′27″N 116°58′12″W / 32.54083°N 116.97000°W / 32.54083; -116.97000Coordinates: 32°32′27″N 116°58′12″W / 32.54083°N 116.97000°W / 32.54083; -116.97000
Website Aeropuerto Internacional de Tijuana
TIJ is located in Tijuana
Location within Tijuana
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,960 9,711 Asphalt
10/28(closed) 2,000 6,561 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Total Passengers 4,268,800 Increase 13.5%
Source: Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico

Tijuana International Airport (IATA: TIJICAO: MMTJ), sometimes referred to as General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, is Mexico's second northernmost airport after Mexicali International Airport. The airport is located in the city's Mesa de Otay borough, just immediately south of the U.S border. In 2013, Tijuana International Airport handled 4,268,800 passengers, representing an 13.5% increase from 2012. It is the fifth busiest airport in Mexico after Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara and Monterrey airports. The airport can handle up to 10 million passengers per year and 360 flights per day.

The airport serves as focus city for Aeroméxico (together with Aeroméxico Connect), the leading airline in Tijuana, which operates up to 20 daily flights to/from 15 Mexican cities. Aeroméxico is trying to develop the airport as a gateway to Asia. Since the first flight in November 2006, Aeroméxico operates 3 weekly flights to Tokyo-Narita. Aeroméxico resumed services to Shanghai on March 26, 2010 after the airline halted service 11 months earlier due to the Swine flu outbreak.[1] The airline temporarily suspended service to Shanghai once again from September 4, 2011 to January 10, 2012. The airport serves as hub for Volaris, currently the second leading airline at TIJ, and the only one operating at both concourses. It formerly was a focus city for Aero California, Aerolíneas Internacionales, Líneas Aéreas Azteca, and ALMA de Mexico. Tijuana's airport was the largest and main hub for Avolar, a new low-cost airline (since August 2005), and the airport's second leading airline at a time. It was one of the first low-cost airlines in Mexico, after some airlines such as, SARO and TAESA.

It is operated by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, a holding group that controls 12 international airports in central and northern Mexico.


The airport opened in 1958, replacing Tijuana's former airport, then located on today's Aguacaliente Boulevard. The new airport's first terminal was built on the southwest part of the airport, facing the new and current terminal building. The airport was incorporated to ASA in 1965.

In the 1960s, the demand of flights to the then-developing city of Tijuana increased, as more passengers were arriving and settling in the city. The construction of the new terminal began and was opened on October 15, 1970, by then-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz.

The original terminal was then assigned as an air base for the Mexican Armed Forces, and it is now simply known as the aeropuerto viejo, or old airport. The terminal, however, is seldom referred as Terminal 1, with Main Terminal being referred as Terminal 2.

The airport is named after General Abelardo L. Rodríguez, Governor of Baja California, and late President of Mexico.


The airport terminal was expanded and renovated in 2002, when the extension of concourse A and B was built, allowing the terminal to double its capacity. Several taxiways were also expanded, to allow the operations of larger aircraft such as the Boeing 747. Nevertheless, as the airport has become one of the most important hubs and gateways in the country, and the only non-stop international gateway from Asia to Latin America, there is a plan of a new terminal, which could house the operations of the major airline at the airport: Aeroméxico (including Aeroméxico Connect). As of today, both of the concourses have been expanded and remodeled, including the progressive introduction of glass-jetways replacing the old ones.

From 2011 to 2012, the airport's Terminal 1 underwent major renovations at Concourse A and B, including new customs and international arrivals facilities, construction of a new bus terminal, and other exterior renovations.

Cross Border Terminal (Terminal 2)[edit]

The airport from 10,000 feet (center of image, Brown Field runway in the United States at bottom)

In 2008, authorities from both Mexico and the United States launched Project Smart Border 2010,[2] which expressed the intent to build an alternate U.S.-Mexico terminal.[3] Property on the U.S. side of the border has already been secured for this project, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has provided approval, allowing the project to move forward with an expected groundbreaking in late 2013.[4][5]

The project consists of a second terminal, located on U.S. soil adjacent to the border, and an international bridge. This building will serve as a check-in and processing facility for departing passengers only, with no gates or arrival facilities (thus functionally resembling Hong Kong International Airport own Terminal 2), but with its own parking and customs offices, that would link passengers to gates at Terminal 1 via a 525-foot bridge across the border. The structural scheme is intended to allow greater access to flights out of Tijuana Airport for both domestic and international air carriers.[6]

Construction works have begun on both Tijuana and San Diego sides as of October 2013, with estimated completion being 2015.[7] The project will cost an estimated 78 million US dollars, funded by U.S. private investors and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico.[8] Building E of Tijuana's Terminal 1 is currently undergoing restructuring, to support the new bridge own structure on Mexican soil. The design of the joint binational Terminal 2 is the work of late Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

In April 2014, Otay-Tijuana Venture, the developer of the border crossing, agreed to pay for the employees and of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and to build that facility.[9]


Former departures façade of then-Main Terminal (now Terminal 1)
Terminal 1 layout
Airport's runway; UABC Campus is seen at background
Gates at Concourse B
Terminal building view

Runway 09/27 runs east-west approximately 300 meters south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The approach to the runway is either from the east (normally) or from the west (when Santa Ana wind conditions exist).

Brown Field Municipal Airport (SDM/KSDM) in San Diego, California lies just over one nautical mile (about 2 km) north of TIJ, with a similar runway length and orientation. However SDM is a general aviation field not set up for scheduled passenger service. Both SDM and TIJ are designated ports of entry.


Commercially speaking, the airport is composed of a single runway, a parallel taxiway, and a 23 gate main terminal with two concourses, a food court and a high-tech control tower, one of the tallest in Mexico. At the opposite side of the Main Terminal building there is another terminal and runway, the Old Airport Terminal, which houses military aviation, mostly performed by the Mexican Armed Forces; south of the adjacent runway (closed for commercial operations), there are 4 remote positions, mostly used by cargo airliners, linked by a shorter taxiway to the main runway. The airport is also used to a lesser extent for general aviation, housed at the General Aviation Building (GAB Terminal).

Main Terminal:

  • Number of gates: 23
  • Contact positions: 12
  • Remote positions: 4
  • Number of jetways: 10
  • Lounges:
  • Food court (Concourses A, B - Floor & Upper Level)
  • Customs & Immigration (International Arrivals are handled at Concourse B, departures at Concourse A)
    • Passport & Nationality Control (Domestic arrivals)
  • Taxi & car rentals (Arrivals & Departures area)
  • Bus Terminal (East of Main Terminal)
  • Duty Free (Main corridor, Concourses A, B)
  • Parking area (Building E)

GAB Terminal:

  • General aviation apron
  • VIP Room
  • Pilots lounge
  • Passengers lounge

Old Airport Terminal

  • Apron
    • Contact positions: 2
    • Remote positions: 4
    • Helipads: 3
  • Parking area

Terminals, airlines and destinations[edit]

View of concourse A
Main Terminal
  • International arrivals are handled at Concourse B.
Airlines Destinations Concourse
Aéreo Calafia La Paz, Loreto, Los Mochis A
Aeroméxico Culiacán, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Shanghai-Pudong, Tokyo-Narita (ends September 17, 2014)[10] A
Aeroméxico Connect Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Durango, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Mexico City, Monterrey, León/El Bajío A
Interjet Aguascalientes (begins August 21, 2014),[11] Culiacán (begins August 21, 2014),[11] Guadalajara, León/El Bajío (begins August 22, 2014),[11] Mexico City, Oaxaca (begins August 22, 2014)[11] A
Volaris Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Cancún, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Colima, Culiacán, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, La Paz, León/El Bajío, Los Mochis, Mazatlán, Manzanillo, Mexico City, Monterrey, Morelia, Oaxaca, Puebla, Puerto Vallarta, Queretaro, San José del Cabo, San Luis Potosí, Tepic, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Uruapan, Veracruz, Zacatecas A/B

Charter airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations
FlyMex operated by FlyAmigo Colima
Global Air (Mexico) Puerto Peñasco

Cargo airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Ontario, Phoenix
Estafeta Culiacán, Hermosillo
TSM Hermosillo, Querétaro

Old airport terminal[edit]

Further information: Mexican Air Force § Structure
Old Airport Terminal seen from above

The Old Airport Terminal (known for locals as Aeropuerto Viejo, old airport) is set for aviation of the Mexican Military and federal police forces. This military airbase belongs to the Northwestern Region of the Mexican Air Force. One cargo airline operates at the terminal.

In-coming flights of these armed forces agencies usually arrive from the Mexican Air Force Central Region, mostly from Mexico City International Airport or nearby airbases.

GAB Terminal[edit]

Note: The General Aviation Building (GAB Terminal) is used for general/non-commercial aviation or private jets. The General Aviation Building is designed to receive up to 120 persons per hour and it has all the services for the convenience of passengers during their private flights. It has a surface of 420 sq. mts. [4,700 sq. ft.], where there are government offices, administrative offices, a pilots lounge and passenger lounge. Two aviation schools are based at this terminal, along with one cargo airline operating there.

Busiest routes[edit]

Busiest domestic routes at Tijuana International Airport (2013)[12]
Rank City Passengers Ranking Airline
1  Distrito Federal (México), Mexico City 592,647 Steady Aeroméxico, Aeroméxico Connect, Interjet, Volaris
2  Jalisco, Guadalajara 454,142 Steady Aeroméxico, Aeroméxico Connect, Interjet, Volaris
3  Sinaloa, Culiacán 216,158 Steady Aeroméxico Connect, VivaAerobus, Volaris
4  Guanajuato, León 99,749 Steady Aeroméxico, Volaris
5  Michoacán, Morelia 71,669 Steady Aeroméxico, Volaris
6  Sonora, Hermosillo 70,575 Steady Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris
7  Nuevo León, Monterrey 56,820 Steady Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris
8  Baja California Sur, La Paz 51,073 Steady Aéreo Calafia, Volaris
9  Michoacán, Uruapan 39,601 Steady Volaris
10  Puebla, Puebla 37,896 Steady Volaris
11  Baja California Sur, San José del Cabo 34,511 Increase 1 Volaris
12  Zacatecas, Zacatecas 32,944 Decrease 1 Volaris
13  Oaxaca, Oaxaca 30,294 Increase 2 Volaris
14  Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta 29,607 Steady Volaris
15  Sinaloa, Mazatlán 26,650 Increase 1 Volaris

Ground transportation[edit]

Further information: Tijuana § Local_transportation


The airport may be reached from Downtown Tijuana or Zona Rio by local bus. It costs $11.00 MXP ($0.95 USD).


Aeroméxico provides a shuttle service from San Diego, California, United States[13] to General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport to allow San Diego residents make connections within Mexico, Japan, while Volaris provides a shuttle service between the airport and San Diego International Airport to allow passengers travelling to the United States reach their final destination. You cannot board this shuttle at San Diego International Airport.


Due to a prohibition by Mexican law, Mexican cities' public taxis may drop passengers at the airport, but cannot pick up passengers from the terminal. The airport thus offers transportation for passengers from the terminal to any point of the city on the SAAT Taxis (Servicio Aeroportuario de Autotransporte Terrestre, Spanish for Terrestrial Transport Airport Service, an airport government-leased taxi company). This and other authorized taxi carriers may be reached at the arrivals hall.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On February 6, 1996, a Cessna 500 with registration XA-SLQ from Aerotaxi Cachanilla crashed on takeoff from Tijuana to Ensenada, the two pilots and six passengers died in the crash.
  • TAESA Flight 725: On November 9, 1999, en route from Tijuana to Mexico City, with a stop in Uruapan, Michoacán, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 went down a few minutes after leaving Uruapan International Airport en route to Mexico City. 18 people were killed in the accident, which prompted inquiries regarding the airline's safety and maintenance procedures, and led to the collapse of the airline months later.
  • Aeroméxico Flight 2130: On September 6, 2001, a Saab 340B Aerolitoral's aircraft, today Aeroméxico Connect, ran out of fuel while en route from Ciudad Juárez to Tijuana, and had to make an emergency landing in the Palms Valley, Baja California. There were no casualties.
  • Northwest Aeronautical Institute: On November 16, 2009, whilst on a training flight, a Piper Cherokee suffered an engine failure forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing at the airport in Tijuana. The pilot landed the aircraft at the airport but the plane sufered some damage. The operations were canceled for about an hour in the General Aviation Terminal of the airport. The two people aboard escaped with only minor injuries.
  • Aeroméxico: On January 21, 2010, an Aeroméxico Connect struggled to land in difficult weather conditions. After circling the airport, the plane attempted to land and the plane skid off the runway, and ended up with a wing buried in the mud. No injuries were reported.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tijuana-Shanghai flights to resume | UTSanDiego.com". Signonsandiego.com. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  2. ^ (Spanish) Lanzan México y EU iniciativa binacional, from El Financiero
  3. ^ (Spanish) Quieren en Tijuana terminal binacional, from Excelsior
  4. ^ "Plans Take Off for Tijuana Airport Border Project". U-T San Diego. July 26, 2013. 
  5. ^ "La Plaza". Los Angeles Times. August 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ "San Diego and Tijuana to Share an Airport". Slate (magazine). November 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Construction On Airport Terminal Linking Tijuana To San Diego Is Off The Ground". KPBS. October 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Cross-border airport bridge to link Tijuana with San Diego". San Diego Union Tribune. September 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ Dibble, Sandra. "Cross-border airport plan clears hurdle." San Diego Union-Tribune. April 17, 2014. Retrieved on April 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "AeroMexico Tokyo Narita Operation Changes from mid-Sep 2014". Airline Route. July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d "New routes Tijuana". Interjet. July 2014. 
  12. ^ "Air Operational Statistics". Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. January 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Creating a connection," San Diego Union-Tribune

External links[edit]