Cancun International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancún
|Operator||Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste|
|Serves||Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico|
|Location||Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo, Mexico|
|Focus city for||Volaris |
|Time zone||EST (UTC-05:00)|
|Elevation AMSL||6 m / 20 ft|
Source: Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste
Cancún International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancún) (IATA: CUN, ICAO: MMUN) serves as the primary gateway for the Cancún Metropolitan Area in Quintana Roo, the Mexican Caribbean, Riviera Maya, and Yucatán Peninsula. Operating as a hub for VivaAerobus and a focus city for Volaris and Magnicharters, it facilitates flights to over 100 cities across 30 countries in the Americas and Europe. The airport is managed by Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) and is the easternmost airport in Mexico.
It is the largest airport in Mexico and Latin America in terms of international passengers, representing 35% of all international passengers in the country. Cancun Airport is a major destination served by most U.S. and Canadian mainline airlines from all their hubs and focus cities, making it the airport outside the United States with the highest number of passengers to and from the United States.
In addition to its commercial operations, Cancun Airport supports various activities in general and executive aviation, flight training, and intensive air charter services. Cozumel and Tulum international airports serve as alternative options in the Cancun area, contributing to the region's overall aviation infrastructure.
Ranked as the 43rd busiest airport in the world, Cancun Airport is Mexico's second busiest, following Mexico City International Airport. Regionally, it stands as Latin America's third busiest and North America's 23rd busiest airport. In 2021, it handled 22,318,467 passengers, witnessing a significant increase to 30,342,961 passengers in 2022.
Cancun's initial airport was established in 1942 as a strategic move to support the region's primary industry at the time: the chewing gum industry. This early airport operated on a rudimentary runway, featuring a control tower constructed from wood and reeds, which remained in operation until 1973. To commemorate its history, a replica stands near the city's entrance, close to its original location.
In the early 1970s, Cancun emerged as a major tourist destination following a deliberate effort by the Mexican government, in collaboration with the National Tourism Development Fund (Spanish: Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo FONATUR). Recognizing its strategic location, near pristine beaches, natural landscapes, and archaeological sites, the comprehensive plan aimed to transform Cancun from a sparsely inhabited area into a world-class tourist hub. Substantial investments in infrastructure were made, including the construction of the new Cancun International Airport, executed by Henro y Asociados in collaboration with the Department of Infrastructure. The airport's inaugural commercial flight occurred on May 12, 1975, drawing swift attention from international tourists.
Throughout its history, Cancun Airport has hosted a variety of airlines. It served as a hub for Mexicana, Interjet, and Aladia in their operational years, facilitating connections for both domestic and international flights. Additionally, the defunct charter airline Aerocancun, based in Cancun, provided flights to U.S., Canadian, European, and South American destinations. MAYAir, established in 1994 initially as a charter airline, expanded its routes from Cancun to various destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Privatization and expansion
In 1995, Mexico embarked on a significant airport privatization initiative through the 'Ley de Aeropuertos' (Airports Law) introduced by the Department of Infrastructure. This marked a pivotal moment for Cancun Airport, integrating it into the Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste ASUR.
Until the early 2000s, Cancun Airport operated with two terminals. A major transformation began in 2005 when ASUR invested US$150 million in constructing Terminal 3, officially inaugurated in 2007. Key additions, including a new runway and Latin America's tallest control tower at 97 meters, were unveiled in October 2009, effectively doubling the airport's passenger handling capacity. On November 27, 2013, Cancun Airport achieved another milestone, becoming the first in Mexico to welcome the Airbus A380, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Air France and the 15th anniversary of ASUR.
The expansion continued with Terminal 2 in 2014, and a significant 76,000 square metres (820,000 sq ft) expansion of Terminal 3 in 2016, introducing six gates and additional commercial areas. This expansion aimed at accommodating the growing annual capacity, increasing it to 10 million from the previous 6 million. Responding to overcrowding and surging demand, Terminal 4 was inaugurated in October 2017.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexican authorities maintained open borders for tourism, positioning Cancun as one of the select international destinations to welcome visitors. In 2021, the airport secured a global ranking of 10th in terms of international passenger numbers.
The airport is located in the Cancun urban area, less than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of the tourist complex, at an elevation of 6 metres (20 ft) above sea level. It features two runways: Runway 12R/30L, measuring 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) in length, and Runway 12L/30R, spanning 2,800 metres (9,200 ft). With the capability to accommodate large aircraft such as Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, the airport boasts two parallel operative runways that can be used simultaneously. Cancun Airport is the easternmost airport in Mexico.
Cancun Airport comprises three terminals dedicated to scheduled flights (Terminals 2, 3, and 4), one terminal specifically for charter flights (Terminal 1), and an FBO terminal. This makes it the airport with the highest number of passenger terminals in Mexico. Beyond the terminals, the airport offers long-term and short-term parking facilities, on-site hotels, a variety of restaurants, and rental car services. It also accommodates facilities for the Mexican Airspace Navigation Services (Spanish: Servicios a la Navegación en el Espacio Aéreo Mexicano). The airport also accommodates a terminus train station for the Maya Train, connecting to various tourist destinations and airports in southeastern Mexico.
Terminal 1 (only charter)
Exclusively dedicated to charter or private flights, Terminal 1 features 7 gates numbered 1 to 7, 3 helicopter stands, and a VIP lounge, offering comprehensive services for private air travel. Temporarily closed for reconstruction after Hurricane Wilma, the terminal resumed operations exclusively for charter flights upon reopening in November 2013.
As the oldest terminal, Terminal 2 accommodates both arrival and departure services for domestic and international flights. With 22 gates—A1 through A11 (in a satellite building) and B12 through B22 (at the main building)—it serves most domestic airlines, along with all international flights to Central and South America and select long-haul flights to Europe. The check-in area houses a bank and food outlets, while the boarding area features several restaurants and shops, along with immigration/customs services. Two lounges, the MERA Business Lounge and The Lounge by Global Lounge Network cater to domestic and international travellers.
The primary tenants at the terminal are Viva Aerobus, which operates a hub at this location, and Magnicharters and Volaris, operating a focus city services along with Volaris Costa Rica and Volaris El Salvador. Other airlines serving Terminal 1 include Aerolíneas Argentinas, Alaska Airlines, Arajet, Avianca, Avianca Costa Rica, Avianca Ecuador, Avianca El Salvador, Conviasa, Copa Airlines, LATAM Brasil, LATAM Chile, LATAM Perú, LOT Polish Airlines, Neos, Sky Airline Peru, Sunwing Airlines, TAG Airlines, TUI Airways, TUI fly Netherlands, TUI fly Belgium, and Wingo.
Dedicated exclusively to international flights, Terminal 3 features 21 gates (C4 through C24). Primarily utilized by major US carriers, along with select Canadian and European carriers, the terminal provides amenities such as shops, including duty-free options, cafés, restaurants, as well as immigration and customs facilities. Terminal 3 is home to the MERA Business Lounge. The ground transportation facility is situated outside the arrivals hall.
The airlines flying to Terminal 3 are Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air Caraïbes, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Iberojet, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, Wamos Air, and World2fly.
Terminal 4 serves both domestic and international flights. It opened in October 2017, making Cancún Airport the first airport in Mexico to have four terminals. It features 14 gates equipped with jetbridges and is able to handle 9 million passengers a year. An on-site hotel is also planned to be opened, as well as a parking structure. Three lounges serve Terminal 4. They are the MERA Business Lounge (national), MERA Business Lounge (international), and The Lounge in Partnership with Air Transat.
At Terminal 4, ADO bus tickets are available for a price approximately five times higher than the standard rate. It is advisable to either purchase the ticket online or consider walking to Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 to potentially save around 400 Mexican pesos (M$110) or 25 US dollars (USD 25) as of 2023. The bus stop is located past the ground transportation facility.
The airlines flying to Terminal 4 are Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Air Transat, Austrian Airlines, Condor, Discover Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Flair Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, and WestJet.
The FBO terminal caters to general aviation from Mexico, the United States, and Latin America. Positioned to the south of the passenger terminal complex, near the main airport entrance, it offers an array of services including ground support, fuel coordination, ground transportation, car rental, catering, and airport lounges. Additionally, the FBO accommodates commercial services from the Belizean airline Tropic Air.
Terminal-to-terminal transportation is facilitated by an inter-terminal shuttle, with buses departing from each terminal every 10 minutes.
Airlines and destinations
^1 TUI fly Belgium's flight from Brussels to Cancún makes a stop in Havana; however, the airline does not have traffic rights from Havana to Cancún.
^2 Turkish Airlines's flight from Istanbul to Cancún makes a stop in Mexico City; however, the airline does not have local traffic rights from Mexico City to Cancún.
|Amerijet International||Belize City, Ciudad del Carmen, Mérida, Miami|
|Estafeta Carga Aérea||Mérida, Miami|
|FedEx Express||Mérida, Miami|
|Year||Total passengers||% change|
|Rank||City||Passengers||YoY % change||Ranking||Airlines|
|1||Mexico City||4,803,489||5%||1||Aeroméxico, Aeroméxico Connect, Magnicharters, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|2||Monterrey||1,650,289||13%||1||Magnicharters, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|3||Guadalajara||1,027,505||2%||1||Magnicharters, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|4||Tijuana||447,420||123%||4||Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|5||León/El Bajío||321,423||1%||0||Magnicharters, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|6||Puebla||311,348||38%||0||Magnicharters, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|7||Mexico City – AIFA||239,813||NA||NA||Aeroméxico, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|9||Querétaro||225,337||47%||0||Magnicharters, Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|10||Ciudad Juárez||221,533||65%||0||Viva Aerobus, Volaris|
|Rank||City||Passengers||YoY % change||Ranking||Airlines|
|1||Dallas/Fort Worth, USA||1,216,860||18%||0||American Airlines, Spirit, Sun Country|
|2||Houston, USA[Notes 1]||1,112,498||20%||0||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, United Airlines|
|3||Chicago, USA[Notes 2]||993,998||23%||0||American Airlines, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United Airlines|
|4||Atlanta, USA||760,622||30%||2||Delta Air Lines, Frontier|
|5||Panama City – Tocumen, Panama||738,972||12%||1||Copa Airlines|
|6||New York – JFK, USA||686,608||18%||1||American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue|
|7||Miami, USA||642,021||13%||1||American Airlines|
|8||Denver, USA||622,637||2%||3||Frontier, Southwest, United Airlines|
|9||Los Angeles, USA||573,596||7%||0||Alaska, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United Airlines|
|10||Bogotá, Colombia||549,313||140%||7||Avianca, Viva Aerobus, Volaris, Wingo|
- Official statistics include George Bush and Hobby Airports.
- Official statistics include Midway and O'Hare airports.
The primary mode of transportation to and from the airport is by road. Travelers to Cancun often arrange ground transportation in advance due to its convenience. Official airport taxis, known for their higher costs, are generally discouraged, and local taxis are not permitted for pickups at the airport. Large short- and long-term parking facilities are available at all terminals.
Each terminal features extensive ground transportation facilities with numbered boarding platforms and nearby snack stands. These facilities are serviced by various companies offering transportation to and from hotels, many of which allow online pre-booking. Passengers with pre-booked shuttle services who have difficulty finding their assigned driver are advised to contact customer service directly.
On-site reservations are also an option, though they may involve potential waiting times. Travellers should exercise caution when approached by individuals offering transfer services at inflated prices after clearing customs. Instead, proceeding directly ahead leads to the official information center, where assistance is available for exploring ground transportation options.
Buses operate between downtown Cancún and the Playa del Carmen bus station. ADO provides services to Cancun, with fares of 110 Mexican pesos (M$110) or 7 US dollars (USD 7) as of 2023. Buses depart every 10 minutes from 8:00 to approximately 23:30. For the journey to Playa del Carmen, tickets cost 240 Mexican pesos (M$240) or 15 US dollars (USD 15) as of 2023, and buses operate every 20-30 minutes. Playa del Carmen buses drop off passengers at the crossroads for Puerto Morelos, where taxis are readily available.
ADO, the primary long-distance bus carrier in southeastern Mexico, serves various destinations, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulúm, and Mérida (with stops at Altabrisa station and Paseo 60 station). Additionally, ADO provides transportation to Cozumel (via Bus + Ferry) and Chiquila (via Bus + Ferry).
ADO buses make stops at all ground transportation terminals and travel directly to the ADO Bus stations in the specified towns, without making stops at hotels or along the route. Coaches accommodate 44 passengers, featuring air conditioning and high-definition entertainment screens. Tickets for ADO buses can be pre-purchased through the official ADO website.
Cancun International Airport houses the largest station on the recently established Tren Maya, a 1,500 km intercity rail network. Located on the opposite side of the runway from the main terminal buildings, this Terminus station is equipped with nine platforms. Commencing December 16, 2023, the station will facilitate departures along both the west route, connecting to destinations such as Chichen-Itza, Mérida, and Campeche, and the south route, serving Tulum, Tulum Airport, and Chetumal Airport. Trains are scheduled to operate at least every 2 hours along these routes.
The Cancun Airport-Tren Maya Station Connection will introduce a shuttle bus service linking the four passenger terminals with the nearby Cancun Airport railway station. Covering a distance of 4 km, the bus route will be serviced by seven electric buses operating at a speed of 69 km/h, each with a maximum capacity of 47 passengers.
Accidents and incidents
- On March 15, 1984, Aerocozumel Flight 261 crashed soon after takeoff. No one died in the crash, but one passenger died of a heart attack while evacuating the swampy crash scene.
- On September 9, 2009, Mexico City-bound Aeroméxico Flight 576 was hijacked after take off. The hijackers were Bolivians who wanted to speak to the President. The plane landed safely in Mexico City, and the hijackers were arrested. 
- 2011 – Best Airport in Latin America – Caribbean of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports Council International and 2nd Best Airport by Size in the 5 to 15 million passenger category
- List of busiest airports by passenger traffic
- List of the busiest airports in Mexico
- List of airports in Mexico
- List of airports by ICAO code: M
- List of busiest airports in North America
- List of the busiest airports in Latin America
- Transportation in Mexico
- Tourism in Mexico
- Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste
- List of beaches in Mexico
- List of cities by international visitors
- Riviera Maya
- Isla Mujeres
- Caribbean Sea
- Tren Maya
- Cancún Airport railway station
- "Passenger's Traffic" (in Spanish). ASUR. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
- "Cancun passes 30 million passengers in 2022; new records for both domestic and international traffic".
- "Statistics by Airport" (Web). Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
- "History". Cancun Online Community. August 2016. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- "Inaugurated Terminal 3 of Cancún Airport (in Spanish)". Periódico El Economista. March 2016. Archived from the original on May 31, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
- "Cancun opens second runway as traffic grows 30% in two years; US routes lead way". anna.aero. October 2009. Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
- "Third Quarter 2014 Earnings Call Transcript" (PDF). Aeropuertos del Sureste. October 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
- "How Cancun Airport Became The World's 10th Busiest International Airport".
- "Cancun Airport's Link to Maya Train: Construction Set to Start Soon".
- "theyucatantimes.com – Cancun airport's new 4th terminal will open Oct. 10". 5 October 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
- "Cancun Airport Terminal 4". Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
- "White sand and warm weather: American Airlines announces largest-ever winter schedule to the Caribbean and Latin America". American Airlines Newsroom. June 2023. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
- "American Resumes Pittsburgh – Cancun Service From Dec 2023". Aeroroutes. July 2023. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
- "CVG lands 2 new nonstop flights from Delta". Dayton 24/7 Now. June 2023. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
- "RDU's busiest airline announces nonstop flights to two more destinations". The News & Observer. June 2023. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
- "Flair Airlines Adds Calgary – Cancun Service From Dec 2023". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 14 September 2023.
- "Flair Airlines NW23 Network Expansion – 01AUG23". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
- "Lynx Air Announces Expansion to Mexico". Globalnewswire. October 2023. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
- "Southwest Airlines Extends Flight Schedule With New International Options And Most-Ever Departures". Southwest Airlines. October 2023. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "Estadística operacional por origen-destino / Traffic Statistics by City Pairs" (in Spanish). Agencia Federal de Aviación Civil. January 2023. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
- "Aviation Safety Network". Aviation-safety.net. 1984-03-15. Archived from the original on 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/09/09/world/AP-LT-Mexico-Hijacking.html[dead link]
- "ASQ Award for Best Airport in Latin America – Caribbean" Archived 2012-02-18 at the Wayback Machine Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13
- "ASQ Award for Best Airport by Size (5-15m)" Archived 2012-02-19 at the Wayback Machine Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13
- Cancun International Airport travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Media related to Cancun Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Independent Cancún Airport website
- Cancun Airport information at Great Circle Mapper
- Aeronautical chart and airport information for MMUN at SkyVector
- Current weather for MMUN at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for CUN at Aviation Safety Network
- Cancun Airport travel data at Airportsdata.net (in English)
- Cancun Airport Terminal 2 Map at Transcun.com (in English)
- Arrivals and Departures at Cancun Airport (in English)
- Airport Cancun Arrivals and Departures at Cancun Airport (in English)