Beginning on March 21, 2018, Hainan Airlines will begin offering flights from Beijing to Mexico City. This flight will have a stop in Tijuana for refueling. The stop in Tijuana is a very beneficial stop for the airline who can then also market this flight for those wishing to visit Southern California.
Tijuana is the second northernmost international airport in Mexico, making it a preferred place for carriers to stop when flying in from Asia. The distance to Mexico City and the elevation of the city often requires Asia-based planes to refuel before entering Mexico.
Tijuana also offers passengers a benefit to easily access San Diego and Southern California. Passengers arriving in Mexico can pass through customs, use the Cross Border Express to enter into U.S. Customs and visit the United States. Passing through customs is usually a breeze, though travelers will have to pay $29 for the privilege of passing through at the airport. There are very few flights connecting San Diego and Asia, making this a prime opportunity for travelers to reach either Mexico or the U.S. on this flight.
Hainan Airlines has been trying to gain permission to operate this flight since 2016. The Civil Aviation Authority of China has finally granted approval of its last application, and the airline was quick to launch the new flight. In its last application to the Aviation Authority, Hainan Airlines also sought clearance to fly to Tehran, Zurich and Sydney. The airline has not announced new flights to these destinations at this time.