New Mexico airline service threatened if White House eliminates subsidies

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Albuquerque, NM (KRQE) – Three New Mexico cities would likely lose all airline service under the new federal budget proposed this week by President Donald Trump.

The US Department of Transportation provides about $9 million dollars a year to Boutique Airlines to provide what is called Essential Air Service (EAS) to the New Mexico cities of Carlsbad, Clovis and Silver City. Passengers are flown to major hubs in Dallas, Phoenix or Albuquerque depending on where they embark.

The new White House budget would eliminate all funding for that program.

“That would really hurt our economy.” says Silver City town manager Alex Brown, “We have a lot of doctors and people from the university who depend on that service.”

Clovis city manager Larry Fry said if the subsidies are removed, “I don’t see how the service could be maintained.”

Leaders in Clovis and the other cities say they promote the fact they have regular airline service when trying to attract new business.

“It’s our direct link to a major hub at a very affordable rate,” said Fry.

Boutique Air CEO, Shawn Simpson said, “Not only does the EAS program serve the residents of these communities but it also supports the businesses and commerce in the area.”

Simpson said flights average 68% full.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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