ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque officials talked about aviation revenue in Wednesday’s news conference.
Mayor Keller talked about why the Albuquerque Sunport is still open and operating. Airports across the country are open for emergency travel and allowed to be open. Also, the closure of Albuquerque’s airport would be a federal decision.
“It’s okay to have the airport open because there are very few people here in terms of distancing in health,” said Keller. “It’s very unfortunate right, I mean no no one wants to see an empty airport but it’s a sign of the times and it’s happening all across America… I want to remind people there’s normally 5 million visitors to go through the Sunport, so the reality is in New Mexico we do have some smaller regional airports but by and large the entire state is serviced through here.”
Another thing that was mentioned during the news conference was how travel was down due to the pandemic. In the month of March, the Sunport was down 50% of travelers. In April it was down 96%.
The Sunport Director of Aviation Nyika Allen says she expects it’s going to take about three years for them to recover. “The years 2020 through 2022 right now and I’m estimating that our airport and the aviation Department will lose approximately $31 million in revenue throughout those three years, said Allen.
However, the Sunport is expected to receive some funding from the federal government to help keep them afloat after the pandemic. “That money has been allocated to us and it will you know that will fill about 2/3 of the gap that we were estimating with that $31 million decrease, so we are pleased of course. The next step is really a lot of tough management decisions and making sure that we are very prudent and tight with our money,” said Allen.
The money they are receiving is part of a $10 billion fund for US airports across the country to help deal with the COVID response.
There are currently 13 buses that are running and operating on Saturday schedule. The city says there are 25 helper buses that assist when there is overcrowding on the main bus. Officials are expected to release more information about transit during Thursday’s daily news conference.
The mayor also wanted to let the public know that ART buses are out on the road training. The buses are not picking up passengers but training on the route. He also wanted to remind the public about WiFi On Wheels locations.
There are currently 70 locations which include 27 schools where Albuquerque Public Schools have grab and go lunch. View map of locations at https://www.cabq.gov/coronavirus-information/wifi