SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Friday, the New Mexico Tourism Department released findings of a study commissioned by them as well as the New Mexico Department of Transportation. The study identified several opportunities that could help restore air service and establish a stronger aviation infrastructure for the state.

According to a press release, New Mexico’s strategic position as a growing outdoor recreation destination, a surplus of regional jets, an end to the shortage of pilots, and the emergence of teleworking were all cited as opportunities the state can use to restore and develop its aviation industry. The study also recommended marketing and incentive programs and air service development for a statewide marketing strategy for air service.

Officials with the Transportation and Security Administration say the number of people flying plummeted when the COVID-19 pandemic began within the country. They say by the end of April 2020, the number of security screenings in airports was down to just 5% of what it was the previous year. NMTD and NMDOT will be working together to use strategies to develop New Mexico’s aviation business in a post-COVID economy.