Monday, May 20, 2024

New Tepic-LAX flight could transform tourism to Riviera Nayarit

A new flight connecting the city of Tepic in western Mexico with Los Angeles could soon be a boon to Pacific coast beach destinations along the Riviera Nayarit.

This week, Mexican aviation authorities began conducting test flights from Tepic, in the state of Nayarit, to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). These trials became possible upon completion of a 2.5 billion-peso (US $145 million) renovation project at the Tepic airport.

A plane on the runway of Tepic airport in Nayarit
Aviation authorities completed the first Tepic-LAX flight on Friday. (Miguel Ángel Navarro/Facebook)

The trade magazine Aviación 21 reported that the funds were used to modernize the existing terminal, build a new state-of-the-art, 42-meter-high control tower, extend and recondition the runway to be 3.1 kilometers, as well as other improvements. The runway extension was key in earning authorization for international flights.

A new terminal is also under construction at the Tepic airport, added Aviación 21, at an additional cost of 1.6 billion pesos (US $93 million) and should be operational in a few months. State and national highways are being rehabilitated to facilitate access to the airport from destinations up and down the Nayarit coast.

The renovations could expand operations to include international routes to and from Canada, the United States, Central America, South America and Europe, reported the newspaper El Financiero.

In announcing Tuesday’s test flight to Los Angeles, Nayarit Governor Miguel Ángel Navarro posted to Facebook: “Nayarit is transforming itself, it is opening up, it is developing … This test flight is the first of several that will demonstrate the project’s viability and earn it certification.”

The domestic airline Volaris has been granted the rights to the Tepic-LAX route. El Financiero reported that Volaris began its operations in Tepic back in 2012 with a flight to the border city of Tijuana, claiming at the time that it planned to extend service to Los Angeles, as well. 

Los Angeles is a popular destination for nayaritenses. El Financiero reported that an estimated 1 million Nayarit natives live in southern California. The most recent census shows Nayarit’s population is just over 1.2 million.

The modernization venture aims to make the Tepic airport the international point of entry for the nearby Riviera Nayarit which extends south toward Puerto Vallarta. Most tourists who arrive at this vacation hotspot today come in via the Puerto Vallarta airport located about 168 kilometers south of Tepic.

With reports from Aviación 21, El Financiero and La Jornada

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