City to remove Sunport’s only moving walkway, revamp exit doors

The Albuquerque International Sunport’s only moving walkway has come to a stop, and airport officials say they’re not planning on turning it back on. 

For months, the one-of-a-kind walkway past the security checkpoint has been blocked off with caution tape. 

After years in operation, the Sunport now says the sole moving walkway will soon be going away. 

“The final plan is to actually remove the walkway,” said Stephanie Kitts, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Sunport. 

Kitts says by the end of the year, crews will begin removing the walkway for good. Currently, there’s no plan to replace it. 

“We’ve determined that it’s not useful, it’s a pretty short span, not a lot of people were using it,” said Kitts. 

While a lot of travelers skip it, the walkway still offered some people a mildly faster way of getting through the long corridor leading up to the public meet and greet area. 

“The walkway is the best part of this airport,” said Kathy Trung of Albuquerque. “It makes you move fast, it’s fun, the kids love using it.” 

However, the Sunport also says the cost of the maintaining the walkway was getting too high.

“We could probably use the space in a much more welcoming, friendly way of bringing people into the city,” said Kitts. 

Some are mixed on the idea of the walkway’s removal. 

“It was hard the last time,” remarked Albuquerque resident Ruth about walking through the Sunport’s long corridors during her last trip. “It’s a long way when you’re my age.” 

“I feel that that’s going backwards,” said Kathy Trung. 

“Every airport is putting more walkways it seems to me anyway,” said Keith Davis of Albuquerque. 

The Sunport says the walkway’s removal is an opportunity to revamp the final approach and exit of the secured terminal area. 

“Certainly, it could be more welcoming especially considering it’s really the first part of the airport outside of the gate area,” said Kitts. “Just welcoming visitors, groups of folks for conventions, things like that are some of the ideas that we’re exploring.” 

The Sunport is also planning to revamp the rotating exit doors that many travelers get stuck in as they leave the secure area. The idea is to replace the doors with something that’s more “straightforward” but the Sunport doesn’t know exactly what they will look like yet. 

“We want to make everything as easy and as traveler friendly as we can,” said Kitts. 

All the changes could start to take shape in 2019, but the Sunport says there’s currently no set timeline on the project.

The Sunport is also nearing the end of the renovations to the ticketing, baggage claim, pickup and drop off areas, which should also be done by the end of 2018. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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