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Intra-State Air Service Sought at Las Cruces Airport

Main Airport Building

Efforts by the City of Las Cruces to reestablish commercial air service at Las Cruces International Airport are moving forward.

The Las Cruces City Council, at its Dec. 20, 2021 meeting, unanimously adopted a Resolution that authorizes City staff to submit a $3.5 million grant application to the New Mexico Department of Transportation-Aviation Division (NMDOT-A) that could establish intra-state air service between Las Cruces and other New Mexico cities through the New Mexico Rural Service Enhancement Program. The Council’s approval of the Resolution also authorizes the City to provide 10 percent in matching funds, for a total request of $3.85 million to participate in the program.

If approved by NMDOT-A, in-state flights to and from Las Cruces to Albuquerque would initially be established. Flights out of Las Cruces International Airport could begin as soon as mid 2022. In time, additional flights to and from Santa Fe and other New Mexico cities could be inaugurated, depending on demand.

A Request for Proposals has been initiated by the City to determine a provider for flights. Proposals will be accepted through Tuesday, December 28.

Las Cruces has been without commercial air service since July 2005.

Las Cruces International Airport is continuing with phase two of the passenger air service study led by DuBois & King and Airplanners. The study is in support of Elevate Las Cruces, the City Council Strategic Plan, and Airport Strategic Plan goals to have daily, regional commercial flights.

The study is also part of a multi-pronged approach to grow the economic vibrancy at Las Cruces International Airport and the Las Cruces Innovation and Industrial Park. The Rural Air Service Enhancement Act was passed by the 2021 New Mexico Legislature to promote air service to connect New Mexico communities, particularly where air service does not already exist.

Based on the direction provided by City Council at a July 26, 2021 work session, air service at Las Cruces International Airport should be pursued.

The NMDOT-A released a Request for Proposals in November which encourages communities across New Mexico to apply for the 2021 funding cycle. Funding is provided for a two-year cycle beginning during the latter part of the 2022 fiscal year.

If the NMDOT-A grant is awarded, City Council would be presented with a budget adjustment, probably sometime between February and April, to accept the award and budget the cash match.

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