Roswell International Air Center

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For the military use of this facility prior to 1967, see Walker Air Force Base.
Roswell International Air Center
Airport type Public company
Owner City of Roswell
Serves Roswell, New Mexico
Elevation AMSL 3,671 ft / 1,118.9 m
Coordinates 33°18′5.6″N 104°31′50″W / 33.301556°N 104.53056°W / 33.301556; -104.53056Coordinates: 33°18′5.6″N 104°31′50″W / 33.301556°N 104.53056°W / 33.301556; -104.53056
Website Official Website
ROW is located in New Mexico
Location in New Mexico
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3/21 13,001 3,963 Asphalt/Concrete
17/35 9,999 3,048 Asphalt
Statistics (2007)
Aircraft operations 43,990
Based aircraft 46

Roswell International Air Center (RIAC) (IATA: ROWICAO: KROWFAA LID: ROW) (Roswell Industrial Air Center) is an airport seven miles (11 km) south of Roswell, in Chaves County, New Mexico.[1]


The airport was Roswell Army International Airfield during World War II, and Walker Air Force Base during the Cold War. When it closed it was the largest base of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command. Roswell International Air Center was developed after the closure of Walker Air Force Base on June 30, 1967.

Walker AFB was named after General Kenneth Newton Walker, a native of Los Cerrillos, New Mexico. He was killed during a bombing mission over Rabaul, New Britain, Papua, New Guinea. on January 5, 1943. Though intercepted by enemy fighters, his group scored direct hits on nine Japanese ships. General Walker was last seen leaving the target area with one engine on fire and several fighters on his tail. For his actions, General Walker was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943.

The base was renamed in his honor on January 13, 1948. Walker Hall, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, home of the College of Aerospace Doctrine Research and Education, is also named after the general.

In 1966 the Air Force announced that Walker AFB would close. This was during a round of base closings and consolidations as the Defense Department struggled to pay the expenses of the Vietnam War within the budgetary limits set by Congress.

It is also known for the Roswell UFO incident, an event that supposedly happened on July 4, 1947. It is alleged that a "flying disk" crashed during a severe thunderstorm near RIAC at Corona, New Mexico.

The site was used for several years to launch stratospheric balloons for Air Force projects.

The site is the storage facility for many of American Airlines' retired Airbus A300-600R wide body jetliners.[2]

On April 2, 2011, a Gulfstream G650 crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport during a test flight that was being conducted by the manufacturer of this large business jet, killing all four aboard.[3]

The airport was used by Felix Baumgartner to launch his record-breaking freefall jump from the stratosphere on October 14, 2012.[4]


The airport covers 5,029 acres (2,035 ha) and has two paved runways:[1]

  • 3/21: 13,001 × 150 ft. (3,963 × 46 m) asphalt/concrete
  • 17/35: 9,999 × 100 ft. (3,048 × 30 m) asphalt

In 2013 the airport had 53,030 aircraft operations, average 145 per day: 17% general aviation, 71% military, 11% air taxi and <1% airline. 34 aircraft were then based at this airport: 76% single-engine, 15% multi-engine, and 8% jet.[1]

Below are annual total aircraft operations 2009–2013 from the FAA's Air Traffic Activity System. Average yearly increase was 5.11% over the last 5 years.[5]

Aircraft Operations: ROW 2009–2013[5]
Calendar Year Aircraft Operations  %
2009 48,726
2010 51,958 6.63%
2011 35,673 −31.34%
2012 34,671 −2.81%
2013 53,075 53.08%

Airline and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth

Roswell was served by Trans-Texas Airways Douglas DC-9-10s to Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Midland/Odessa and Santa Fe. TTa Convair 600s flew to cities in New Mexico and Texas. TTa was renamed Texas International Airlines which continued at Roswell with DC-9s and Convair 600s; DC-9s flew direct to Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH) and Los Angeles and nonstop to Albuquerque.[6]

American Eagle Embraer ERJ-140s now fly nonstop to Dallas/Ft. Worth for American Airlines.

Other uses[edit]

RIAC is home to a plastic manufacturer; Novabus Inc. has a bus factory there; a candy manufacturer and the Roswell Municipal Airport. Eastern New Mexico University has a campus there, and aircraft repair and refurbishing companies including AerSale have airliners stored onsite.

RIAC is the home of the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center.

The Boeing Company uses RIAC for braking performance testing of its aircraft, most recent was the testing of the BF Goodrich carbon brakes on the 737-900ER model. Also testing on brakes was performed on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

A New Mexico National Guard unit uses some buildings.


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for ROW (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-12-20
  2. ^
  3. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Gulfstream G650 N652GD Roswell International Air Center Airport, NM (ROW)". Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ Watch Felix Baumgartner's Record-Setting Jump From 120,000 Feet Live Popular Science, 2012-10-14.
  5. ^ a b "Air Traffic Activity System". Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide, North American edition

External links[edit]