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City council approves grant application that could establish intrastate air service at Las Cruces airport


At its Dec. 20 regular meeting, the Las Cruces City Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing city staff to submit a $3.5 million grant application to the New Mexico Department of Transportation-Aviation Division (NMDOT-A) that could establish intrastate air service between Las Cruces International Airport (LCIA) and other New Mexico cities through the New Mexico Rural Service Enhancement Program (NMRSEP).

The resolution 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 LCIA 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 were due Dec. 28.

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

LCIA is continuing with phase two of a passenger air service study led by DuBois & King and Airplanners. The study is in support of the city’s strategic plan and LCIA goals to have daily, regional commercial flights.

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.

The NMRSEP 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.