Santa Fe Municipal Airport

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Santa Fe Municipal Airport
Airport type Public
Owner City of Santa Fe
Serves Santa Fe, New Mexico
Elevation AMSL 6,348 ft / 1,935 m
Coordinates 35°37′02″N 106°05′22″W / 35.61722°N 106.08944°W / 35.61722; -106.08944Coordinates: 35°37′02″N 106°05′22″W / 35.61722°N 106.08944°W / 35.61722; -106.08944
SAF is located in New Mexico
Location in New Mexico
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 8,366 2,550 Asphalt
15/33 6,316 1,925 Asphalt
10/28 6,301 1,921 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
Aircraft operations 78,569
Based aircraft 181

Santa Fe Municipal Airport (IATA: SAFICAO: KSAFFAA LID: SAF) is ten miles southwest of Santa Fe, in Santa Fe County, New Mexico.[1]

The airport had seen an increase in airline flights, with 43,329 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2011 and 47,847 in 2012.[2] The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 called it a general aviation airport based on enplanements in 2008, when Santa Fe had no airline service while airport officials awaited federal approval of an environmental impact assessment (the commercial service category requires at least 2,500 per year).[3]


Past airline service[edit]

Santa Fe had scheduled passenger airline service as early as the mid 1930s operated by Varney Speed Lines, the predecessor of Continental Airlines. In 1934, the southwest division of Varney was operating daily round trip air service flown with a single engine Lockheed Vega aircraft on routing of El Paso - Albuquerque - Santa Fe - Las Vegas, NM - Pueblo, CO with continuing service operated by another airline, Wyoming Air Service, on to Colorado Springs and Denver.[4] In 1936, the southwest operating division of Varney was acquired by Robert F. Six who in 1937 renamed the air carrier Continental Air Lines which then began operating Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior twin prop aircraft on a daily round trip routing of El Paso - Albuquerque - Santa Fe - Pueblo, CO - Colorado Springs - Denver.[5] Mr. Six would serve as CEO of the airline until 1981. Thus, Santa Fe was one of the very first destinations served by Continental which would become a major domestic and international airline. By 1944, Continental was operating Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar twin prop aircraft on a daily round trip routing of Denver - Colorado Springs - Pueblo, CO - Las Vegas, NM - Santa Fe - Albuquerque - Roswell, NM - Hobbs, NM - Midland/Odessa - Big Spring, TX - San Angelo - San Antonio.[6] Continental then introduced Douglas DC-3 service and in 1948 was flying from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, El Paso, Colorado Springs and other smaller cities in Colorado and New Mexico[7] Continental expanded its service and in 1952 was operating the DC-3 on a route between El Paso and Denver that included Las Cruces, Truth or Consequences, Socorro and Raton in New Mexico and Trinidad in Colorado in addition to Santa Fe and the other aforementioned destinations on the El Paso-Denver route and was also providing direct, no change of plane DC-3 flights between the airport and San Antonio.[8] By 1959, the airline had introduced its first turbine powered airliner service into Santa Fe with the four engine, British-manufactured Vickers Viscount turboprop flying a daily round trip routing of Denver - Colorado Springs - Santa Fe - Albuquerque - Alamagordo, NM - El Paso and was also operating direct, no change of plane DC-3 service to Dallas Love Field.[9] Continental then ceased all service to Santa Fe and by 1964 was no longer serving the airport.[10]

Several other airlines served Santa Fe as well during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. In 1950, the airport was a stop on a transcontinental service operated by Trans World Airlines (TWA) with a Douglas DC-3 flying a daily routing of New York LaGuardia Airport - Pittsburgh - Columbus, OH - Dayton - Chicago Midway Airport - Kansas City - Topeka, KS - Wichita - Amarillo - Santa Fe - Winslow, AZ - Phoenix - Los Angeles.[11] By 1960, TWA was operating four engine Lockheed Constellation propliner service into Santa Fe with a daily routing of Chicago Midway Airport - Kansas City - Wichita - Amarillo - Santa Fe - Albuquerque - Phoenix - Los Angeles.[12] In 1948, Pioneer Airlines was serving Santa Fe with two daily round trip flights operated with Douglas DC-3s with a routing of Albuquerque - Santa Fe - Las Vegas, NM - Tucumcari, NM - Clovis, NM - Lubbock, TX - Abilene, TX - Mineral Wells, TX - Fort Worth, TX - Dallas [13] and by 1953 was also operating direct, no change of plane flights to Houston Hobby Airport.[14] Pioneer was then acquired and merged into Continental Airlines in 1955. The original Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) began flights to Santa Fe in the early 1960s with Convair 340, Convair 440 and Douglas DC-3 prop aircraft and by the late 1960s was operating Convair 580 turboprops from the airport nonstop to Denver and Albuquerque, and direct to Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso.[15]

Also during the late 1960s, the airport saw nonstop and direct Douglas DC-9-10 jets to Dallas Love Field and then direct to Houston Hobby Airport operated by Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) which also flew DC-9s to Albuquerque, Roswell and Midland/Odessa on a flight routing to Dallas and Houston.[16] TTa introduced the first jet service into Santa Fe with the DC-9. TTa changed its name to Texas International (TI) and continued to serve Santa Fe with DC-9 jet service during the early 1970s.[17] TTa and TI also flew Convair 600 turboprops from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and other cities in New Mexico and Texas. TTa began flights to Santa Fe during the mid 1960s with Douglas DC-3s.[18] By the mid 1970s Texas International had ceased all service to the airport. [19]

By the mid 1970s, only two small commuter airlines, Mountain Air and Zia Airlines, were serving the airport with small Cessna 402 and Piper Navajo prop aircraft with flights to Denver and Albuquerque as well as to several small cities in New Mexico.[20] During the 1980s and 1990s, they were followed by several other commuter airlines flying nonstop service to Denver, including Mesa Airlines operating Beechcraft 1900 turboprops and the then-new commuter version of Pioneer Airlines flying Beechcraft C99 turboprops.[21] From the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, Mesa Airlines also operated shuttle service between Santa Fe and Albuqueque, first with Cessna aircraft and then with Beechcraft 1900C turboprops with up to seven round trip flights a day.[22] Mountain Air Express flew Dornier 328 propjets nonstop to Denver and Albuquerque in 1997 on behalf of Western Pacific Airlines as a feeder service.[23] Great Lakes Aviation served Santa Fe at several different times over the years with Beechcraft 1900C and Beechcraft 1900D turboprops primarily with flights to Denver. Also in later years, America West Express operated by Mesa Airlines flew Beechcraft 1900s nonstop to Phoenix via a code sharing feeder service for America West Airlines.

Period without airlines[edit]

At one point Santa Fe had no scheduled passenger air service. In June 2007, the airport was upgraded to Class 1 status to allow regional jet flights. The city's government and interested airlines entered negotiations to split the cost of upgrades. In July 2007 Delta Air Lines announced new regional jet flights would commence between Santa Fe and Los Angeles International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport which would have marked the advent of the first regional jet service into Santa Fe. However, all scheduled services, including planned American Eagle flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport which were announced shortly after Delta made its plans known, were suspended indefinitely pending federal approval of an environmental assessment. Delta and American then removed flights to Santa Fe from their schedules and it was unknown at that time if and when flights would begin.[24]

Resumption of airline service[edit]

The completion of the environmental impact statement was announced on February 26, 2009, but neither Delta or American Airlines immediately announced any resumption of their intentions to serve the facility, citing changed economic conditions.[25] On March 12, 2009 the City of Santa Fe announced that American Eagle, the regional affiliate of American Airlines, would begin one daily flight to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on June 11, 2009. On the same day service began, American Eagle also announced additional service to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) beginning November 19, 2009. These American Eagle flights to DFW and LAX were operated with Embraer ERJ-140 and ERJ-145 regional jet aircraft.[26]

On July 27, 2009 American Eagle announced a second daily flight to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Service began on November 19, 2009. On December 14, 2009, a third daily flight to Dallas-Fort Worth was announced. Service began on February 11, 2010.[27] However, on June 18, 2010, it was announced that service would temporarily revert to two daily flights to Dallas-Fort Worth in August 2010, with the third flight expected to return in April 2011.[28]

On February 28, 2011, it was announced that the third daily flight to Dallas-Fort Worth would return in April as planned, and that a fourth daily flight would begin in July 2011.[29] The third daily flight operated until November 16, 2011, and the fourth daily flight operated from July 2, 2011 to August 22, 2011. The third daily flight again made a return in April 2012, and the fourth daily flight returned on June 14, 2012.[30]

Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines and currently operating under the American Eagle brand) now operates Embraer ERJ-140 and ERJ-145 regional jets on all its nonstop flights between Santa Fe and Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW). SkyWest Airlines, operating as American Eagle, started nonstop service to Los Angeles on November 14, 2012 with Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets, replacing the Embraer regional jet service that was operated by American Eagle to LAX. American Eagle has now announced it will cease flying all nonstop service to Los Angeles operated by SkyWest effective September 8, 2015.

As of August 2011, the city of Santa Fe was in discussions with Great Lakes Airlines concerning the possible resumption of turboprop passenger service to Denver.[31] Great Lakes then resumed scheduled flights into Santa Fe. On December 1, 2012, Great Lakes initiated nonstop flights to Denver and Clovis, NM with Beechcraft 1900D turboprop aircraft configured with 19 passenger seats. On March 15, 2013, Great Lakes announced it would replace the Clovis flights with service to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) starting May 1.[32] However, Great Lakes subsequently cancelled all flights once again from the airport and no longer serves Santa Fe.[33]

On December 19, 2012, it was announced that ExpressJet Airlines, operating as United Express on behalf of United Airlines, would initiate twice daily regional jet service to Denver International Airport (DEN) beginning May 1, 2013.[34] These flights are currently being operated with 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet aircraft and comprise the first ever nonstop jet service between Santa Fe and Denver.


Santa Fe Municipal Airport covers 2,128 acres (861 ha) at an elevation of 6,348 feet (1,935 m). It has three asphalt runways: 2/20 is 8,366 by 150 feet (2,550 x 46 m); 15/33 is 6,316 by 100 feet (1,925 x 30 m); 10/28 is 6,301 by 75 feet (1,921 x 23 m).[1]

In 2013 the airport had 72,031 aircraft operations, average 197 per day: 71% general aviation, 12% air taxi, and 8% military. 207 aircraft were then based at this airport: 71% single-engine, 11% multi-engine, 10% jet, 2% helicopter, 1% glider, 0% ultralight, and 5% military.[1][35]

The data below lists annual total aircraft operations from 2003–2013 from the FAA's Air Traffic Activity System. Average annual increase in aircraft operations was 0.88% over the last 10 years.[36]

Aircraft Operations: SAF 2003–2013[36]
Calendar Year Aircraft Operations  %
2003 80,538
2004 83,431 3.59%
2005 74,997 −10.11%
2006 76,416 1.89%
2007 79,356 3.84%
2008 73,716 −7.11%
2009 70,112 −4.88%
2010 75,646 7.89%
2011 66,989 −11.44%
2012 65,456 −2.29%
2013 71,932 27.41%

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service:

Airlines Destinations
American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles (ends September 8, 2015)[37]
United Express Denver


Carrier shares: Dec 2013 – Nov 2014[38]
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
American Eagle1

1Includes flights operated by the old American Eagle Airlines brand & the current Envoy Air brand presently flying as American Eagle.

Top domestic destinations: Dec 2013 – Nov 2014[38]
Rank Airport Passengers Airlines
1 Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 34,000 American Eagle
2 Denver International (DEN) 28,000 United Express
3 Los Angeles International (LAX) 12,000 American Eagle


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for SAF (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. 
  4. ^, Sept. 20, 1934 Varney Speed Lines system timetable.
  5. ^, July 1, 1937 Continental Air Lines system timetable
  6. ^, May 1, 1944 Continental Air Lines system timetable
  7. ^, May 1, 1948 Continental Air Lines system timetable
  8. ^, Sept. 28, 1952 Continental Air Lines system timetable
  9. ^, Sept. 27, 1959 Continental Airlines system timetable
  10. ^, Aug. 29, 1964 Continental Airlines system timetable
  11. ^, Sept. 24, 1950 TWA system timetable
  12. ^, April 24, 1960 TWA system timetable
  13. ^, Oct. 12, 1948 Pioneer Airlines system timetable
  14. ^, Nov. 1, 1953 Pioneer Airlines system timetable
  15. ^, July 10, 1963 & Oct. 29, 1967 Frontier Airlines system timetables
  16. ^, Aug. 1968 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
  17. ^, July 1, 1970 Texas International system timetable
  18. ^, Oct. 30, 1966 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
  19. ^, March 1, 1974 Texas International system timetable
  20. ^ Feb. 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Santa Fe schedules
  21. ^, April 1, 1981; Oct. 1, 1991 & April 2, 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Denver-Santa Fe schedules
  22. ^, Dec. 15, 1989 & April 2, 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Albuquerque-Santa Fe schedules
  23. ^, June 29, 1997 Western Pacific Airlines system timetable
  24. ^ "Santa Fe Airport: Flights Delayed as Airlines Wait for Report". January 22, 2007. Archived from the original on February 18, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  25. ^ Quick, Bob (February 26, 2009). "FAA clears airport for regional jets". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  26. ^ "American Eagle Airlines Launches Nonstop Jet Service Between Santa Fe, N.M., and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport". American Eagle Airlines. PR Newswire. June 11, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  27. ^ "American Eagle Airlines Boosts Service From Dallas/Fort Worth to Santa Fe, N.M. Beginning Feb. 11, 2010". American Eagle Airlines. PR Newswire. December 14, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  28. ^ "American Eagle To Cut One Flight to Dallas". ABQ Journal. ABQ Journal. June 18, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  29. ^ Quick, Bob (February 28, 2011). "American Eagle to add connections to Dallas-Fort Worth". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 1, 2011. 
  30. ^ "American Eagle adds 4th Santa Fe-DFW flight". KSWO. April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Santa Fe, NM – Official Website – Commercial Airlines". Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Airline plans flights between Santa Fe, Phoenix". Santa Fe New Mexican. March 15, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  33. ^, Route Map
  34. ^ "United to starts flights between Santa Fe, Denver". KGWN-TV. December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b "Air Traffic Activity System". Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  37. ^ "American Airlines Cancels 2 Los Angeles Routes from Sep 2015". May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  38. ^ a b "Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Municipal (SAF)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. July 2014. Retrieved Feb 2015. 

External links[edit]