Alamosa airport flies to new heights

(Courier file photo). The Alamosa Regional Airport is eligible for $1,000,000 in federal funding.

ALAMOSA — Alamosa’s Airport reached a new boarding milestone and is now in line for a hefty reward. The airport will be eligible to receive $1,000,000 in federal funding thanks to breaking 10,000 enplanements for the first time in the airport’s history.

Airport Manager Will Hickman presented to the Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday. As a publicly owned airport, Alamosa is eligible for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Entitlement Funds through the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

Entitlement Funds are allocated annually on a tiered system based on enplanements. A rough definition of an enplanement is a departing passenger, meaning Alamosa would only get credit for passengers departing from their airport and not connecting flights that pass through Alamosa. Anywhere from 0-8,000 enplanements would grant an airport $150,000, which is where Alamosa has been landing in years past.

From 8,000-9,999 enplanements and airports see their entitlement funds grow to $600,000. For the 2019 calendar year, Alamosa cleared 10,000 enplanements and will be expecting $1,000,000 in entitlement funds which are to be expected in 2021, “Our goal was really to get to eight thousand,” said Hickman “and then we kept on working and calling a lot of the charter non-scheduled part 135 operators that fly intoand-out-of here and were able to capture more enplanements that we normally would have missed.”

The funding will likely be going back into the airport helping with everything from building hangars to various repair and upkeep plans. The Coronavirus has affected airport business all over the country and Alamosa’s own is no different. Alamosa is seeing COVID-19 stunt enplanement numbers for the 2020 calendar year.

The Alamosa airport is also in the process of choosing a new air carrier for the essential air service (EAS) contract including Boutique Air, Denver Air Connection and the Board of County Commissioner suggestion SkyWest. It’s expected that the Department of Transportation (DOT) will make its choice by August 1.

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