Airlines and Aviation
Passengers travelling between the United States and Mexico by way of Tijuana International Airport have a new – and more reliable – travel option: walking across the border by way of an elevated pedestrian bridge.
Cross Border Xpress connects an airline terminal in San Diego, California, with Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) in Baja California by way of a 390 foot pedestrian sky bridge that takes arriving and departing airline passengers seamlessly across the US-Mexican border.
Tijuana International Airport is situated right along the border with the United States, and an estimated 60% of the travel passengers using the airport originate in or are destined for the United States.
Most of them, however, are Mexican Americans returning home to visit their families in Mexico, business people engaged in cross-border trade, or tourists visiting beach resorts or colonial towns.
Crossing the Border
Both US and Mexican airlines link many cities in the United States with major cities in Mexico such as Mexico City and Guadalajara as well as beach resorts such as Cancun, Mazatlan, and Puerta Vallarta.
Travellers to and from other travel destinations south of the border, however, don’t usually have this option.
If they are travelling to or from mid-sized or smaller cities, they have to travel by way of Tijuana International Airport.
And this entails a congested, uncomfortable, and unpredictable land crossing, which often takes several hours.
But it doesn’t always take several hours to cross the border. So you have to allow for enough time in the event of a major traffic jam. And it you don’t encounter a major traffic jam, you arrive at the airport far to early and have lots of time to waste.
The CBX terminal, which opened on 8 December 2015, is located right along the Mexican border in San Diego. The walk along the enclosed walkway from one side to the other takes about 5 minutes and costs US$18.
Open 24/7, CBX offers secure parking in the United States, passenger pick-up and drop-off zones, and most of the other services you would expect at an airport terminal.
What you won’t find, however, are check-in counters or baggage claim facilities, both of which remain at Tijuana International Airport.
Ticketed passengers still need to carry their luggage across the bridge, although porters are available for hire.
The facility is somewhat unique. The only other known cross-border airport crossing of its type is between Basel, Switzerland, and the Upper Rhine region of France.
Tijuana International Airport
Tijuana International Airport serves more than 4.5 million passengers per year and has a capacity to handle 10 million per year.
The 5th busiest airport in Mexico, General Abelardo L. Rodrigues International Airport, as the facility is also known, is served by 4 domestic airlines.
The airport is a focus city for Aeromexico and Aeromexico Connect, which link Tijuana with daily service to more than 10 travel destinations across Mexico and one foreign travel destination: Shanghai Putong International Airport in China.
The airport is a hub for discount Mexican air carrier Volaris, which flies from the airport to about 20 cities across Mexico and Oakland, California, in the United States.
Interect flies from Tijuana to Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Toluca. VivaAerobus flies to Culiacan, Hermosillo, Los Mochies, and Monterrey.
United States Customs and Border Protection processing is located in the CBX terminal on the US side of the border. Mexican Immigration and Customs processing takes place on the Tijuana side of the border.