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Airport manager optimistic commercial flights will return
Commercial flights to and from Farmington ended at the start of November
FARMINGTON — Four Corners Regional Airport manager Mike Lewis is optimistic that commercial air service will return to Farmington.
The last commercial airline, Great Lakes Airlines, stopped flying in and out of Four Corners Regional Airport at the beginning of November. Airline officials cited a pilot shortage as the determining factor for leaving Farmington and expressed hopes that service could return in the future.
Lewis said the city will apply for a Small Community Air Service Development Program grant. He said the federal grant application is due in December and the grants will be awarded next spring.
"Farmington is an ideal candidate," he said. "It's exactly what this grant was set up for."
The grant could help subsidize commercial air service for up to three years, attract commercial airlines and market the airport's services.
As part of its application, Farmington will be required to submit a strategic plan, according to an order soliciting grant proposals for the Small Community Air Service Development Program issued in October by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
According to the order, the U.S. Department of Transportation has $10 million available to distribute to up to 40 small community airports throughout the country. In the past, the grants awarded to various entities have ranged from $50,000 to $1.6 million, according the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Lewis said the city has had conversations with several airline carriers that have expressed interest in flying to and from Four Corners Regional Airport.
"I'm real confident that we're going to end up with air service again," he said.
In the meantime, the airport continues to offer charter and private flights and as well as car rentals.
While people must fly out of Durango, Colorado, or Albuquerque this holiday season, Lewis said once the air service returns he anticipates that people will begin booking flights out of Farmington again. The air service will also be available for people wanting to fly into the Four Corners area.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.