Construction has begun on a new terminal that will let travelers at the Tijuana airport cross directly into San Diego. Travelers will have to pay a fee to cross the 500-foot bridge across the border fence to a new customs station, but the plan will eliminate long waits at the border crossing for San Diego travelers who have already been using Tijuana as a second airport, particularly for international flights. (Needless to say, Tijuana taxi drivers are not big supporters of the plan.) The plan has been under consideration since the early ‘90s and the link is supposed to be operational next year.
Tijuana would not be the world’s first “bi-national airport,” though there aren’t many. France and Switzerland share two of them. Basel-Mulhouse Airport is located on Swiss territory but has “Swiss customs’ zones, which are connected to Basel by a customs’ road.” Geneva International Airport also has a French Sector devoted solely to French domestic air travel. There are also a number of small airports straddling the U.S.-Canadian border.
For obvious political reasons, this plan has been a lot more controversial, but it’s good to seen an acknowledgment that the two cities share some common economic interests.
Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international news, social science and related topics. He was previously an editor at Foreign Policy magazine.