ALBUQUERQUE — A dramatic drop in commercial air traffic at New Mexico’s largest airport and a predicted slow recovery is expected to result in a revenue loss of an estimated $31 million for Albuquerque’s aviation operations from fiscal year 2020 to 2022, city officials said Wednesday.
The Albuquerque International Sunport is getting more than $19.7 million in grant money as part of federal relief efforts aimed at easing financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The funds are part of nearly $10 billion allocated to more than 3,000 U.S. airports.
The extent to which the grants will cover long-term lost revenue is unclear, so Mayor Tim Keller said the city is planning a layered approach based on the scope and rate of recovery. He pointed to declines in tourism, which is among the state’s top economic drivers.
“The department relies on passengers to generate revenue, so these factors will determine if additional action is needed down the line,” Keller said.
Under the grant program, the Albuquerque airport will pay expenses upfront, then submit reimbursement documentation to the FAA for approval. Before any specific allocations are made, the City Council must approve a detailed plan.
The airport also has put in place preventative measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The extra cleaning and sanitization that began in March will remain in place indefinitely. That includes disinfecting the terminal nightly.