During most of the Covid pandemic, Mexico’s beach resorts continued to welcome tourists. That helped Cancun become one of the world’s fastest growing airports during the pandemic. The market continues to grow today, as airlines now capitalize on the strong demand for post-pandemic leisure travel.
Airline schedule data from Cirium Diio show that Cancun’s airport saw a 12% increase in departing seats during the first quarter of 2023, compared with the first quarter of 2022. Versus the first quarter of 2019, seats were up a remarkable 31%. We’re looking at first quarter because that’s peak season for Mexico beach travel. The trend is true, however, across the year.
Many of the seats flying into Cancun originate in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara, all big Mexican cities. Many of these seats cater to domestic tourists, though some are filled with people connecting from abroad. Cancun’s leading international market measured by nonstop seat capacity in Q1 was Toronto. The largest country market, however, is the U.S., led by Dallas DFW, Chicago, and Atlanta, all giant connecting hubs, pulling in Cancun-bound tourists from many different places. Diio’s FM Traffic tool shows that Atlanta-Cancun flights, for example, attract the most connecting volume from Chicago, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Denver, and Nashville. For DFW-Cancun, leading connections are Chicago, Las Vegas, and London Heathrow.
Another big connecting point for people going to Cancun is Panama City, home of Copa Airlines. Though Volaris is Cancun’s busiest airline, and American its busiest foreign airline, Copa is its busiest from outside Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. Many European airlines fly to Cancun as well.