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
(CBX terminal in Otay Mesa, San Diego, California)
Hub for Volaris
Focus city for Aéreo Calafia
Elevation AMSL 149 m / 489 ft
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
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 (2015)
Total Passengers 4,870,500 Increase 11.0%
Ranking in Mexico 5th Steady
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 Otay Centenario borough, just immediately south of the U.S border. It handled 4,387,800 passengers in 2014 and 4,870,500 in 2015.[1] 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.

As of December 9, 2015, with the opening of the Cross Border Xpress bridge and terminal, Tijuana is the only airport in the world to have terminals in two countries. Passengers can walk across a bridge spanning the U.S.-Mexico border between a terminal on the U.S. side and the main facility on the Mexican side.[2][2].[3]

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. In terms of domestic destinations (totalling 32 cities), it is the best connected airport after Mexico City.[4]


The Tijuana airport opened as the "Aeropuerto Federal de Tijuana" on May 1, 1951,[5] replacing Tijuana's former airport, then located on today's Aguacaliente Boulevard. The new airport's runway had an orientation of 10/28 and was 2.5 kilometers in length (8,200 feet) and the first terminal was built on the southwest part of the airport, facing the new and current terminal building. In 1954, Mexicana de Aviacion began direct Tijuana-Mexico City flights. The airport was incorporated to ASA in 1965. Under President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, a National Plan of Airports was initiated and headed by Gilberto Valenzuela Esquerro, Secretary of Public Works (Secretario de Obras Publicas).[6]

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 and a 2.5 kilometer 09-27 runway to accommodate larger aircraft was finished in July 1970 and inaugurated on November 19, 1970, by then-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and Gilberto Valenzuela Esquerro, Secretary of Public Works. The total cost for the improvements in 1970 was $108,487,000 Pesos ($8,678,960 U.S. dollars).

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.

In 1983, Tijuana became Mexico's fastest growing city, both terminal and parking areas were expanded to meet increased demand. In 1987, air traffic suffered a sharp decline due to the suspension of service by Aeromexico. With the restructuring of Aeromexico in 1988, service and air traffic increased causing delays in service. Both terminal space and parking for passengers became inadequate. To meet demand, Mexico issued its first two 10 year private sector airport "co-investments" to expand both the departure lounges and parking areas. Construction of both were completed in 1991[7]

From 2006 until September 2014, Aeroméxico operated 3 weekly flights to Tokyo-Narita, but in September 2014 they stopped in Monterrey instead.[8]

Aeroméxico resumed services to Shanghai on March 26, 2010 after the airline halted service 11 months earlier due to the 2009 flu pandemic.[9] The airline temporarily suspended service to Shanghai once again from September 4, 2011 to January 10, 2012.

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

Main corridor of the airport.


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. In December 2015 the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) cross-border bridge and passenger terminal on the U.S. side opened.


Former departures façade of then-Main Terminal (now Terminal 1)
File:Tijuana Terminal.JPG
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 (airside), Main Corridor (landside))
  • 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

Cross Border Xpress ("CBX", Terminal 2)

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

Cross Border Xpress or CBX, consists of a terminal on the U.S. side of the border and a bridge to connect the Tijuana Airport with that terminal, and opened on December 9, 2015.[10]

The project consists of a second terminal, located on U.S. soil adjacent to the border, and an international bridge. This building serves 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 links 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.[11]

The project cost an estimated 78 million US dollars, funded by U.S. private investors and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico.[12] Building E of Tijuana's Terminal 1 underwent 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.

Airlines and destinations


View of concourse A.
Entrance to the parking lot.
Check-in counters at the airport.
Interjet A320.

International arrivals are handled at Concourse B.

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Aéreo Calafia La Paz, Loreto A
Aeroméxico Guadalajara, Mexico City, Shanghai-Pudong A
Aeroméxico Connect Ciudad Juárez, Durango, Hermosillo, León/El Bajío, Monterrey A
Interjet Aguascalientes, Culiacán, Guadalajara, León/El Bajío, Mexico City A
VivaAerobus Guadalajara (resumes March 18, 2016),[13] Mexico City A
Volaris Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Cancún, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Colima, Culiacán, Durango, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, La Paz, León/El Bajío, Los Mochis, Mazatlán, Mexico City, Monterrey, Morelia, Oakland, Oaxaca, Puebla, Puerto Vallarta, Queretaro, San José del Cabo, San Luis Potosí, Tepic, Torreón/Gómez Palacio, Uruapan, Veracruz, Zacatecas A/B


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

Old airport terminal

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

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.


Aeroméxico's Salón Premier at the airport
Cargo area of the airport
Baggage reclaim of the airport

Busiest domestic routes

Busiest domestic routes at Tijuana International Airport (2014)[14]
Rank City Passengers Ranking Airline
1  Distrito Federal (México), Mexico City 605,296 Steady Aeroméxico, Aeroméxico Connect, Interjet, Volaris
2  Jalisco, Guadalajara 487,097 Steady Aeroméxico Connect, Aeroméxico, Interjet, Volaris
3  Sinaloa, Culiacán 209,798 Steady Interjet, Volaris
4  Guanajuato, León 109,555 Steady Aeroméxico Connect, Interjet, Volaris
5  Michoacán, Morelia 69,097 Steady Volaris
6  Nuevo León, Monterrey 53,996 Increase 1 Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris
7  Sonora, Hermosillo 53,863 Decrease 1 Aéreo Calafia, Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris
8  Baja California Sur, La Paz 47,167 Steady Aéreo Calafia, Volaris
9  Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes 40,529 Increase 1 Interjet, Volaris
10  Michoacán, Uruapan 37,054 Decrease 1 Volaris
11  Oaxaca, Oaxaca 33,335 Increase 2 Interjet, Volaris
12  Puebla, Puebla 32,312 Decrease 2 Volaris
13  Baja California Sur, San José del Cabo 31,631 Decrease 2 Volaris
14  Zacatecas, Zacatecas 27,892 Decrease 2 Volaris
15  Sinaloa, Mazatlán 27,097 Steady Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris

Busiest international routes

Busiest international routes at Tijuana International Airport (2014)
Rank City Passengers Ranking Airline
1  Japan, Tokyo 74,506 Increase Aeroméxico
2  China, Shanghai 61,971 Increase Aeroméxico
3  USA, Los Angeles 410 Increase 1
4  Japan, Osaka 137
5  USA, San Francisco 121

Ground 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[15] 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.

Accidents and incidents

  • Aeroméxico Flight 498: On August 31, 1986 an Aeroméxico DC-9 that originated from Mexico City with stops at Tijuana and other Mexican destinations collided with a private aircraft while attempting to land at Los Angeles International Airport.
  • 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


  1. "GAP announces terminal passenger traffic figures for the month of December 2015" (PDF). GAP.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Cross-border airport bridge opens next month", Sandra Dibble, 'San Diego Union-Tribune', November 20, 2015
  3. "California Newest Airport Terminal Extends to Mexico, By ELLIOT SPAGAT, 'ASSOCIATED PRESS,' SAN DIEGO — Dec 7, 2015, 10:31 AM ET
  4. http://www.frontera.info/EdicionEnLinea/Notas/Noticias/02042014/826383-Tijuana-Bien-conectada.html
  5. AENA (July 2000). Plan Maestro del Aeropuerto de Tijuana. Gruou Aeroportuario del Pacifico. p. 1.4. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Lopez, Fermin (September 30, 1970). Secretaria de Obras Publicas- Memoria de labores 1964-1979. Mexico City, Mexico: Compania Impressora y Lito Grafica Juventud, S.A. de C.V. pp. 186–215. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Steve Casteneda-Ralph Nieders, co-authors (October 20, 1998). Crossborder Air Passenger Terminal Facility Phase 1 Report October, 1998 (PDF). South County Economic Development Council. p. 5. Retrieved August 12, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Volará Aeroméxico de Monterrey a Tokio", Milenio
  9. "Tijuana-Shanghai flights to resume | UTSanDiego.com". Signonsandiego.com. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2012-09-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Pedestrian bridge opens", Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2015
  11. "San Diego and Tijuana to Share an Airport". Slate (magazine). November 19, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Cross-border airport bridge to link Tijuana with San Diego". San Diego Union Tribune. September 5, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Vivaaerobus to launch new routes to Tijuana (In Spanish)". Vivaaerobús. Retrieved September 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Air Operational Statistics". Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. January 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Creating a connection," San Diego Union-Tribune

External links