Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local

Newly expanded Tijuana airport expected to reduce crossing times

Leaders from San Diego County and Mexico held a joint celebration Monday of the newly expanded Tijuana International Airport. Race and equity reporter Cristina Kim says leaders expect the additions to attract more tourism and greatly reduce wait times for passengers using the Cross Border Express.

Thanks to a new $100 million expansion to the Tijuana International Airport, travelers crossing from San Diego County via the Cross Border Express (CBX) bridge should be enjoying shorter wait times.

“As you cross southbound, you will be in a new facility that is adding more immigration booths, doubling the capacity of customs expansion, and also adding four times the capacity of airline ticket counters,” said Jorge Goytortúa, CEO of the Cross Border Xpress.

That was great news to Logan Creighton of San Clemente who was waiting on Monday morning to check her bags before crossing to catch her flight to Mazatlan. She’s used CBX before and is excited about the easier process and any new expansions.

“To go through customs now before we get to Mexico and it’s the easiest thing. It feels like you are at the airport terminal,” Creighton said.

The airport expansion was funded by the Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, which operates 12 airports in Mexico, including Tijuana's. The new facilities will expand screening capacity by 75% and will reduce wait times by 30% to 40%, officials say. The goal is to make CBX crossings a maximum of 25 minutes.

Guillermo Mir of Orange County has used CBX at least 20 times. On Monday morning he was getting ready to cross the CBX bridge to catch a flight to Michoacán to visit his mother. He applauds the addition of more immigration booths to process people more quickly.

“It’s great because they are needed,” he said in Spanish. “They have a lot of people crossing here.”

But he says the wait times for the U.S. side are still too long and believes more should be down stateside.

Goytortúa says they’re aware of the problem and are already at work to improve the northbound experience especially as they anticipate four million people to cross the CBX bridge this year.

“We added more booths here in CBX just in February,” he said. “We're bringing more officers soon to also help the demand that we're seeing from our customers.

The expansion also includes two new boarding gates and has added several new flights. This makes the Tijuana airport one of the best connected airports in Mexico for domestic flights and a boon to the cross-border economy.

“It brings jobs and tourism and will impact the economy of both regions,” he said. “We're targeting to connect Asia with Mexico and Southern California through the Tijuana Airport and CBX.”