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After much speculation, the new Riviera Maya airport project was officially launched in Tulum, on Monday, by Mexican President, Felipe Calderón.

The project on the coast near Cozumel, will need an investment of some $254 million.

It will give visitors arriving to Cozumel a third choice of airport, in addition to Cancun airport and the island's own international terminal.

The President started the bidding process to construct and operate the airport and the "bases" for the competition will be published on April 15, 2010.

It will be the first Mexican airport constructed by private investors under a concession scheme and will have a capacity for up to 3 million passengers per year.

Part of an ambitious government infrastructure plan, it will occupy 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares) near Tulum.

Riviera Maya airport
Mexico's stunning Riviera Maya.

Potential bidders are thought to include: ASUR, operator of Cancun airport; OMA, operator of northern Mexican airports including Monterrey and Acapulco; OHL, one of Spain's largest construction companies; Advent International, a private investment company, GAP, operator of Mexican Pacific side airports including Guadalajara; IDEAL, Carlos Slim's construction company; Grupo Mexico, a large Mexican industrial group; Spanish company, Albertis; and French company, Bouygues Batiment International.

See the location of the new airport on Google Maps, read more Riviera Maya news or see our Transport section for more information and to make reservations for Cozumel flights and airlines or Cozumel airport transfers.