ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The airline industry has been devastated by COVID-19 and hundreds of planes have been grounded. This has actually benefited the city of Roswell.

For weeks now, the Roswell airport has been receiving planes from airlines to be stored while air travel has come to a virtual halt. More than 300 planes are parked at the airport and workers have had to clear some space. Also coming with the planes are workers, to maintain the aircraft.

“Right now we have gotten about 130 extra people coming in to work for the MRO’s,” said Scott Stark, Director of Roswell Air Center. Roswell airport has more than 300 acres of pavement to hold these planes. They have also hired local airplane mechanics to fill the need.

“For us what it means is increased number of jobs to do the work out here as revenue that comes into the airport for parking,” said Stark. He says the city is already seeing great benefits from all these planes including the parking fee that is charged to the airlines.

“What we have on the ground right now represents about $1.2 million dollars a year in extra revenue,” Stark said. He expects that number of planes to rise because they still have room for at least another 100 planes.

American Airlines and United Airlines have signed deals to perform maintenance in the future here and use the airfield when the need to park planes arises.