NEW MEXICO

Gallup airport to offer flight services to Phoenix

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — While Farmington's airport remains without passenger service for now as facility upgrades continue, the Gallup Municipal Airport will soon offer passenger air service between the city and Phoenix and the Durango-La Plata Airport in Colorado recently picked up a $3.2 million federal grant.

Gallup officials announced they selected Advanced Air to provide passenger air service at the airport, which is owned and operated by the City of Gallup and located three miles from the downtown area.

Gallup has been without passenger services for 12 years, the city and Advanced Air stated in a joint news release on July 7.

The city awarded a two-year contract with Advanced Air, based in Hawthorne, California, to start flight services on Aug. 1. The airline will offer one daily flight between Gallup and Phoenix Sky Harbor.

"Providing accessible local air travel is a critical and necessary component for a region's economic vitality," Levi Stockton, founder and president of Advanced Air, said in a statement. "We are steadfast in our commitment to serve the city of Gallup with a premium, reliable and safe product and thrilled to be a part of this warm and welcoming community."

Gallup officials announced they selected Advanced Air to provide passenger air services at their airport. Daily flights between Gallup and Phoenix will start in August.

The release states that financial support for the flight service was through New Mexico's Rural Air Service Enhancement Act.

Gallup received the first grant under the act, which was approved by state lawmakers and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2021.

"The act was put into place to guarantee that small communities without scheduled operations could attract regular air service, providing access to a large or medium-hub airport," the release states. "This program provides a mix of state and city-allocated funds to induce airlines to enter the smaller markets in New Mexico."

State Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup, said the act was created with the sole intent of propelling economic development in rural areas.

"I'm beyond pleased for Gallup, a city that serves as an economic hub for 70,000 people on a weekly basis, to be the first recipient of this grant," Lundstrom said.

The Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington has been without commercial air service since 2017, but daily, nonstop service to Phoenix is available at the Durango-La Plata County Airport outside Durango, Colorado.

Now that air travel is gearing up in Gallup, area residents will have another option for services.

Federal grant awarded to Durango-La Plata County Airport

The Durango-La Plata County Airport near Durango, Colorado was awarded $3.2 million in grant funds under the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Terminals Program.

According to the agency, the grant will fund the first phase of rehabilitating the airport terminal. The work includes expanding the size of the post-screening area and adding a new gate to allow greater passenger capacity.

The FAA program was created by the $1 trillion infrastructure legislation that was passed and signed into law in November 2021.

It provided $5 billion to the FAA to provide competitive grants for airport terminal development projects that address the nation's aging infrastructure at airports.

The airport near Durango was among 90 projects at airports across the country to share the first disbursement of $1 billion in funding.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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