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Return of commercial air service to Farmington delayed amid COVID-19 pandemic

Flights were supposed to start in October

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Four Corners Regional Airport is pictured, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Farmington, New Mexico.

AZTEC — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused a delay in returning commercial air service to the Four Corners Regional Airport.

Last month, the City Council approved an agreement with SkyWest Airlines that would have brought jets in and out of the airport starting in October.

However, on July 20, the city announced that the commercial air service will resume in the spring at the earliest rather than returning this fall.

According to a press release from the City of Farmington, travel restrictions — including the restrictions put in place by the state of New Mexico — have led to reduced demand for air service nationwide, and the pandemic has led to increased travel concerns.

A Great Lakes Airline sits on the tarmac  shortly after landing Thursday, May 28, 2017 at the Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington.

"We are eager to bring air service back to our community when the time is right," Four Corners Regional Airport Manager Mike Lewis said in the press release. "This unexpected increase in the pandemic has caused a temporary shift in the business climate for many industries. The risk of trying to establish and grow air service at Four Corners Regional Airport during this unprecedented, uncertain time would not be in the best interest of our community or our airline partners. When the time comes, we will be ready to move full speed ahead to successfully bring regional jet service back to the Four Corners."

Commercial air service ended about three years ago when Great Lakes Aviation announced it would no longer serve the Farmington airport, citing a pilot shortage.

A Great Lakes Airline takes off for Denver on May 18, 2017, at the Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington, New Mexico.

The city has since completed major upgrades at the airport to allow larger planes to land at the facility.

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

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