FAA grant may help Farmington's efforts to restore commercial air service

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The Four Corners Regional Airport received a $3.45 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to extend the runways.

FARMINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a $3.45 million grant to Four Corners Regional Airport that will allow Farmington to upgrade the facility's runways to accommodate small passenger jets.

The airport lost commercial air service when Great Lakes Aviation left in 2017 and has struggled to attract new companies due to its airport reference code, which outlines what types of planes can land at an airport.

The airport is not equipped to handle larger planes, like jets, but could get that clearance is runways are lengthened.

Airport Manager Mike Lewis said extending the runway overrun area will allow jets that seat up to 90 passengers to land at the airport.

The longer overrun area will allow extra room for a plane to stop if the pilot overshoots the runway.

More:Farmington looks at airport upgrades to attract commercial airlines

There is a short area at the end of the runways before the edge of the mesa that is currently mainly dirt and vegetation. The $3.45 million will be used to grade that area and turn it into an extension of the overrun area.

Four Corners Regional Airport Manager Mike Lewis points to the airport reference code Farmington hopes to achieve, Friday, June 7, 2019, at Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington.

“This significant investment in airport improvements Four Corners Regional will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a press release.

Lewis said this project will likely be completed by the end of the year. Farmington will begin accepting bids from contractors on June 26.

The city has already been in talks with SkyWest Airlines, and the company may begin flying out of Farmington after the project is completed.

SkyWest:Farmington plans to return commercial air service to Four Corners Regional Airport

$840 million distributed to airports nationwide

The $3.45 million grant to Farmington is portion of the $840 million of grant money the FAA is distributing to airports nationwide for infrastructure.

Other airports in the region that received grant funding include:

  • Cortez, Colorado: Cortez Municipal Airport received nearly $865,000 to improve drainage at the airport as well as other improvements.
  • Durango, Colorado: Durango and La Plata County received nearly $6.9 million to reconstruct the taxiway at Durango-La Plata County Airport.
  • Navajo Nation: Navajo Nation received more than $3.1 million to reconstruct the runway at the airport in Window Rock, Arizona.
  • Aztec: The City of Aztec received more than $625,000 to install runway lighting at the Aztec Municipal Airport.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

The Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington, seen in this undated file photo, has received a federal grant to extend its runways, which could lead to the airport being rated to accommodate small commercial jet aircraft. The facility's goal is to restore passenger service lost in 2017 when the last carrier shut down operations here.