ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The spread of the Coronavirus has restricted air travel and left a lot of planes on the ground. The Roswell Airport seems to be a landing spot for those grounded planes to receive maintenance while they are not being used.
“Because of this pandemic with airlines shutting down anywhere from 50 % to 75% of their international business, and beginning to shut down some of their domestic as well, they need a place to put those airplanes,” said Scott Stark Airport Director.
Airports across the country are seeing historically low passenger numbers. Leaving airports like the Sunport and the Tulsa Airport with more planes on the ground then they have flying causing runways to be crowded. Roswell Airport is a solution.
“There are currently 100, between 150 to 200 acres of asphalt that has been abandoned and is not currently used by the airport configuration that we have now, and so that’s where we have an opportunity,” said Scott Stark.
Airport officials said workers from Roswell Street Department have been working to clear dirt and grass from asphalt on abandoned runways which the Airport could hold between 300 to 500 additional planes. The city is gaining a fee of up to $14 per plane, per day for storing it. The Mayor says this is a welcome revenue when so many businesses are shut down.
“This will add jobs, now some of them will be people that will come in from out of town from elsewhere but not all of them have the right credentials here to do this work but some do, and the other thing is it brings activity into the economy,” said Mayor Dennis Kintigh.