Carlsbad and regional airports share federal money for improvements

Mike Smith
Carlsbad Current-Argus

Four municipal airports in southern and southeastern New Mexico received nearly $1 million in federal funds for various improvements, federal officials said.

The grant from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) was part of a $520.5 million package for infrastructure improvements to 287 airports in 41 states, read a DOT press release.

Carlsbad’s Cavern City Terminal, Carrizozo Municipal Airport, Deming Municipal Airport and the Hatch Municipal Airport are receiving a total of $907,000 for construction work, per the release.

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Cavern City Air Terminal received a grant of $75,000 to reconstruct runway space, according to the DOT release.

City of Carlsbad Community Development Director Ken Britt said the funds would be used to work on 5,830 feet of runway.

More:FAA to pay for majority of Carlsbad airport runway improvements

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway and Ward 3 City Councilor Jason Shirley welcomed the money as a major step for the airport and the City of Carlsbad. 

More than 5,000 feet of runway at the Carlsbad Cavern City Air Terminal will be reconstructed thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Transportation.

“Carlsbad’s airport has become extremely busy, and improvements to the airport help keep this a business-friendly city while also maintaining high safety standards,” Janway said.

"We are always excited to be able to use federal funds for much needed projects. We have great relationships at DOT and appreciate the investment in our community," Shirley said.

John Waters, director of the Carlsbad Department of Development, said the improvements will continue to help Carlsbad and Eddy County in economic development.

“Any improvement is appreciated with the activity we see out there,” he said.

Britt didn’t have a timeline on when work would start adding that plans need to be drawn up and a contractor needs to be selected.

Carrizozo’s airport received $405,000 to reconstruct the apron area where planes are parked, read the DOT release.

More:Carrizozo Airport receives $54,000 for apron pavement work

Bill Hayes, airport manager, said the money is needed for various functions.

“We’ve been pushing it for a couple of years now,” he said. “It’s going to help everybody (and) construction could start this summer.”

Hayes said the old surface is set to be removed and new pavement will be laid down and new devices will be placed to secure idle airplanes.

More:$2 million runway safety work continues at Carlsbad airport

Deming’s airport received $157,000 to reconstruct an apron area and Hatch’s airport was given $270,000 for new pavement and seal work, read the DOT release.

“New Mexico’s regional airports are critical transportation lifelines for our state’s rural economies and communities,” Udall said in a statement. “As travel to and from New Mexico continues to increase, residents and visitors will increasingly rely on our regional airports—and this infrastructure and marketing funding will help them support New Mexico’s economic success.”

U.S. House Rep. Xochitl Torres Small said the four airports in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District connect to people to other communities and support economic development.

Carlsbad's Cavern City Air Terminal received a $75,000 grant to reconstruct a portion of the runway.

“This Federal Aviation Administration grant will make necessary infrastructure improvements to continued increase of residents, visitors and new business opportunities in New Mexico,” she said in a news release.

“I’m pleased this award will fund projects in rural communities like Deming, Hatch and Carlsbad.”

Roswell to Denver flights may initiate

Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation announced the Federal Aviation Administration awarded a $750,000 grant as revenue guarantee and marketing program for possible future United Airlines flights from Roswell International Air Center to Denver International Airport, read a news release from the delegation.

Air Force Two lands in Roswell in 2018. The Roswell International Air Center received a $750,000 federal grant to look at possible direct flights from Roswell to Denver International Airport.

“This is an incredible economic opportunity for Roswell Air Center to expand its services to Denver International Airport,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in the release.

“Roswell continues to prove, time and time again, its viability for connecting communities all across New Mexico to tourism and business opportunities – reaching to new regions in the country. “

Scott Stark, director of the Roswell Air Center and Kim Day, CEO of Denver International Airport said the money continues to move plans forward for direct flights from Roswell to Denver.

In the release, Day said both airports signed an agreement in 2019 to enhance the relationship between both communities.

More:Rural NM airports awarded $13.8 million in federal maintenance, safety funding

“We are pleased the U.S. DOT has awarded this grant to support the opportunity to pursue nonstop flights between our two cities, and we look forward to working together to build a successful business case for service,” Day said.

American Airlines offers flights from Roswell to Dallas-Fort Worth and Roswell to Phoenix.

Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.