- NM Airlines Hopes to Better Connect DOE Lab Employees to LANL
Officials at the Los Alamos County Airport expect as much as a 30 percent increase in the number of passengers in recent months aboard their Los Alamos–Albuquerque flights.
In May 2014 alone, the airport saw a dramatic 15 percent increase in total passengers flying aboard New Mexico Airlines. The uptick in travelers is likely the direct result of recent schedule modifications and the addition of new flights, according to Airport Manager Peter Soderquist.
Effective May 12, 2014, New Mexico Airlines revised its daily flight schedule to meet customer demand and added more flights from the Albuquerque Sunport to Los Alamos County Airport as a convenience for in state and out-of-state lab employees commuting to and from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Airport officials are hoping that easy access to Los Alamos will also prompt Department of Energy (DOE) national lab employees across the country to take advantage of the short 20-minute flights to the Labs.
“In just one month since adding flights and revising flight schedules, we’ve seen a substantial increase in passengers – both tourists and lab employees – coming to Los Alamos,” Soderquist said. “Our flights benefit scientists because they are much more efficient, convenient and safer than driving to the Labs. Efficiency in travel translates into efficiency in work production efforts, not to mention that we are helping to connect employees at all DOE Labs with our Lab employees. Interaction is essential to helping develop and sustain scientific and technical efforts that are important to our country.”
Though numbers are not yet available, Soderquist believes that if the trend continues, NM Airlines could see close to 700 passengers by the end of June. NM Airlines expects to see over 8,000 passengers this year alone.
New Mexico Airlines started offering flight service in April 2013 at just $49 each way when booked on FlyLosAlamos.com. Since its inception, the Los Alamos–Albuquerque flights have transported approximately 6,000 passengers per year (approximately 500 per month).
Based on customer feedback, an 8:15 a.m. flight Monday-Friday plus Saturday was added, effective May 12, along with adjustments to midday flights and the addition of a new 5:45 p.m. departure from Albuquerque to Los Alamos.
As with any flight, bags are limited to one 50-pound bag per traveler. Reservations are subject to a $25 service charge. Parking at Los Alamos Airport is free, with check-in 30 minutes prior to departure. Visit FlyLosAlamos.com for security policies, carry on information, and more.
The $49 fare is offered through FlyLosAlamos.com and the LANL travel office. Reservations made using third party travel websites or by calling the New Mexico Airlines toll free number are subject to an additional booking fee.
Los Alamos County supports the air service with state, federal and local funds with a goal to ultimately bring new revenues to Los Alamos with business travel and tourism revenues, as well as being an incentive for new businesses to locate or relocate to the area. Easy access to air service for travel or shipping cargo is frequently cited as one of the top considerations in business location searches.
The flight service evolved from a partnership between Los Alamos National Labs, Los Alamos County and New Mexico Airlines. The U.S. Department of Transportation provided partial funding as part of its Small Community Air Service Development program. Prior to last year’s launch, Los Alamos had not had air service to Albuquerque since 1996.
The nine-passenger capacity prop planes also can be chartered through New Mexico Airlines.
Book online at FlyLosAlamos.com or call 24-hours a day at 888.564.6119.