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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Mérida’s new far-flung airport will be less convenient and cost more

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The new airport in Poxilá will be well outside of Mérida’s city limits. Photo: Courtesy Google Earth

Earlier this summer came news that Mérida’s international airport, which has recently undergone an extensive expansion and multiple renovations, will be replaced by a larger one outside the city.

But now further details are beginning to emerge regarding the exact location of the new airport.

According to federal infrastructure plans, the new airport will be located in the tiny community of Poxilá which has a population of under 1,000. 

Aside from questions regarding the need or viability of building a new airport, there is a matter of practicality. Getting from downtown Mérida to the new airport would take at least between 40 and 50 minutes.

The existing airport can be reached from downtown Mérida in approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Another advantage of the current Manuel Crescencio Rejón airport is that it is accessible via regular public transit  — a feature much appreciated by airport employees.

The greater distance to and from the new airport, which has not yet been named, is also likely to result in more expensive taxi fees for travelers. 

Earlier: New Mérida airport likely to cost over 10 billion pesos

Currently, the FUTV taxi company holds an official monopoly on transfers to and from Mérida’s airport, which as a result has led to higher costs for customers. It is unknown if this arrangement will remain in place once the airport at Poxilá becomes operational. 

Officials have not announced plans to upgrade the roads leading to Poxilá to handle the increased traffic. 

When the project was first announced Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal claimed the new airport will be financed by private means. But the question of who exactly will be paying for necessary infrastructure upgrades to roads and highways remains is up in the air. 

Building a new airport has been an ambition common to several state administrations dating back to the governorship of Patricio Patrón Laviada from 1997 to 2001.

But given the size and capacity of the existing Manuel Crescencio Rejón Airport, many are left wondering why such a move is being made  — with many suspecting the answer is cronyism and corruption. 
Instead of building a new airport, critics of the project have suggested investing more heavily in existing secondary airports such as the inactive facility in Kaua, near Chichén Itzá.

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