Cancun airport seeks to reduce immigration lines with more employees

Cancun International Airport (CUN) has announced plans to hire additional immigration officers in an effort to reduce wait times for arriving passengers. In scenes reminiscent of the summer chaos seen at many US and European airports, long waits have been reported in recent months by travelers arriving from abroad in the popular Mexican vacation destination.

The lines have drawn complaints from many passengers, especially those who have missed their travel connections and tours arranged as a result. The 130 new hires will bring the total number of immigration officers in the international arrivals areas of the airport to 329 and are part of a number of measures currently being implemented in an effort to reduce congestion and improve improve the passenger experience.


TAP Air Portugal is one of many carriers to launch international services to Cancun in the past year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Single flight.

Electronic passport readers have recently been introduced, which has helped speed up the arrival process. In addition, passengers will no longer be required to complete the Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) customs form. The FMM used to be presented on arrival and then again on departure, with a fine in place for those who lost it during their stay. Cancun International Airport is now part of a pilot program to phase out the form.

Where do Cancun international passengers arrive from?

According to Mexico’s National Migration Institute, more than 7 million international passengers arrived at Cancun International Airport last year. Although it was a significant increase from 2020, this figure likely remained partially subdued due to the lingering effect of COVID-related travel restrictions.

This year, however, the number is expected to be much higher. From January to May alone, 4 million international arrivals passed through Cancun International Airport. That was well ahead of the 1.5 million at Mexico City International Airport during the same period.

American Airlines has a significant presence at Cancun International Airport. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | single flight

Unsurprisingly, the United States is Cancun’s biggest international market, with direct flights from more than 40 cities. So far this year, American tourists have accounted for 63% of all international arrivals by air to Mexico.

Cancun International Airport also hosts a growing number of European carriers, with direct connections to more than 20 airports across the Atlantic, including London Gatwick (British Airways and TUI), Paris Charles de Gaulle (Air France), Frankfurt (Condor , Lufthansa and Eurowings Discover) and Istanbul (Turkish Airlines).

Among the most recent transatlantic flights is TAP Air Portugal’s service from Lisbon, which began last year with the airline’s Airbus A330neo. It was followed soon after by Spanish carriers World2fly and Iberojet, both with flights from Madrid on their Airbus A350s.

From South America, the Brazilian GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes recently announced an increase in the frequency of its Boeing 737 MAX service from Brasilia.

The Aeromexico flag carrier has only one international route from Cancún to São Paulo Guarulhos. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I simply fly

A strong recovery, and even busier times ahead

In terms of total passengers, Cancún International Airport has been the fourth busiest airport in Latin America so far this year, behind Mexico City (MEX), Bogotá (BOG) and São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) .

Last year, more than 22 million passengers passed through the airport, almost reaching the pre-pandemic peak of 25 million. With this year set to be another banner year and with even more international arrivals on the horizon, will the measures the airport has put in place to minimize wait times be enough?

Have you recently passed through Cancun International Airport? Did you have a long wait at immigration? Share your experiences by commenting below.

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