Tijuana regains US flights; 2023 passengers up 48% versus 2019


Situated by the US border across from San Diego, Tijuana is Mexico’s fifth-busiest airport. It had 13.18 million passengers in 2023, up by a considerable 48% versus 2019. Traffic even rose by 7% year-on-year. This development has been from the domestic market and was driven by Volaris and Viva Aerobus.

Tijuana passengers 2010-2023

Tijuana gets its first US route in seven years

On February 15, 2024, American commenced a daily service from Phoenix to Tijuana.  Covering 475 kilometres and operated by the Embraer E175, it connects the Mexican city on many airports. American will now serve 12 Mexican destinations from its Arizona hub.

Tijuana last had a US route in 2017, when Volaris operated to Oakland for the wider San Francisco area. It initially operated between 2009-2010, before returning between 2015-2017. Before that, Los Angeles was served by Mexicana and Aero California. Despite being a large city, Tijuana’s location astride the US border makes US routes challenging.


Phoenix is Tijuana’s only international service

While Tijuana has understandably struggled with US flights, it previously had flights to Asia and Central America. Aeromexico commenced MEX-Tijuana-Tokyo NRT in 2006, which ended in 2014. It operated MEX-Tijuana-Shanghai PVG from 2008-2019.

Hainan Airlines operated Beijing PEK-Tijuana between 2018-2020. Tijuana provided the only non-stop flights between Asia and Latin America. Elsewhere, Volaris flew to San Salvador in 2018/2019.

Prague International Airport

(U)LCCs have 93% of Tijuana’s seats

Like Mexico itself, Tijuana revolves around (U)LCCs. According to Cirium schedules information, they provide a considerable 93% of available seats this winter. That is 20 percentage points higher than the pair’s domestic presence generally.

Other airlines include (relaunched) Mexicana, which launched its sole Tijuana route – to Mexico City NLU – on 13 January 2024 (now 3-weekly). It is now one of the three carriers in that 2,280-kilometre market. Aeromexico only serves Mexico City MEX, while in W23, Calafia uses its ERJ-145s on intra-Baja California routes.

Despite a large year-on-year capacity reduction, Volaris remains by far Tijuana’s largest operator. It is twice the size of Viva Aerobus, and the airport is its second most-served nationwide. It serves 39 routes, all domestic. In contrast, Viva has 14 routes, all but one of which competes with Volaris, Aeromexico or Mexicana. The exception is Tulum, introduced on 17 December 2023 (3-weekly).

Tijuana airlines W23

41 destinations are served this winter

Examining Cirium data indicates that MEX is – not surprisingly – Tijuana’s leading destination. However, Guadalajara ranked first in W22, but it has seen a reduction in capacity from the exit of Aeromexico and big cuts by Volaris. Indeed, the post-pandemic change in seats in many markets is clear to see. In March, MEX has 112 weekly departures with Aeromexico (54), Volaris (32), and Viva (26).

Top 10 Tijuana destinations W23

Athens International Airport