Sunport reports record low operations due to COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While the Albuquerque International Sunport is taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the airport also reports it is seeing a decline in passenger traffic.

“We’ve seen a sharp decline in the commercial passenger traffic…which is positive. It tells us that the public is taking this outbreak seriously. It’s clear that people are flying only if it’s absolutely necessary,” said Jonathon Small, Marketing Manager at the Albuquerque International Sunport.

In a press release on Tuesday, the Sunport stated that it has increased its cleaning and sanitation efforts, has placed extra focus on high touch, public areas. Additionally, the New Mexico Department of Health is running an information booth in the terminal which provides passengers with the most current information, resources, and self-isolation recommendations due to COVID-19.

According to Small, passengers are asked about their travel history by the DOH upon arrival.

Though the Sunport is still open, the facility reports a sharp decline in passenger traffic stating that on average, the airport sees around 15,000 passengers arriving and departing per day. The outbreak has resulted in “unprecedented lows” with numbers down about 90%.

Following the recent state outbreak guidelines, the Sunport’s restaurants, bars, and retailers are now closed. The few services that are available are only open for limited hours and offer take out service only.

“We never like to see record low numbers when it comes to airport traffic, but in light of the coronavirus pandemic, this is the best thing for our community and we appreciate that travelers are taking this seriously and staying home,” said Mayor Tim Keller in a press release. “While most of us think of the airport as a throughway for travel, the truth is the Sunport is much more than that. Maintaining essential airport operations is vital to our community – for Kirtland Air Force Base, for our hospitals, and for cargo facilities transporting many of the essentials we all need during this time.”

In addition to commercial air traffic, the Sunport has cargo facilities for FedEx and UPS, operates with Kirtland Air Force Base, and makes medevac services available for hospitals across the state.

The sunport said it’s in constant contact with the FAA during the outbreak.

“Obviously the situation is changing very rapidly but we hope to still remain operational to provide those essential services for folks to be able to travel if they absolutely have to,” said Small.

The Sunport states that despite the coronavirus outbreak it will continue to operate to maintain these essential services including those necessary for KAFB. The airport also announced that it has a communicable disease response plan in place should necessary action be needed to protect employees and travelers in addition to federal guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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