New Mexico Airlines charter plane. Courtesy/NMA
By Carol A. Clark
Los Alamos County is holding meetings this week with New Mexico Airlines to bring a commuter airline service to Los Alamos.
The service will transport passengers to the Albuquerque Sunport.
Public Works Department Director Philo S. Shelton III said that this week’s meetings include discussing flight schedules and frequency of service.
“We are looking at using a 9-passenger plane, so for convenience of service we will offer more frequent flights,” Shelton said. “Also, with a 9-passenger plane, the TSA does not require passenger screenings. The passengers will hop on the plane in Los Alamos and won’t be screened until they land in Albuquerque.
The County applied for a $272,000 FCC grant to help subsidize tickets and promote the new service in its first year.
Shelton explained that there is a formula used that helps determine how as flights are filled, less subsidy is needed and when ultimately the service becomes self-sustaining.
“We are excited about launching this new service,” Shelton said.
New Mexico Airlines is the only airlines that responded to the County’s request for a proposal for the commuter service.
New Mexico Airlines is part of the larger Pacific Wings Airline, which does business in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and New Mexico.
The County anticipates starting the new commuter air service in March 2013.