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 of airport in New Mexico
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 8,342 2,543 Asphalt
15/33 6,307 1,922 Asphalt
10/28 6,300 1,920 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
Aircraft operations 78,569
Based aircraft 181

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

The airport had seen an increase in airline flights in recent years, with 43,329 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2011 and 47,847 in 2012.[2] It is in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which 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]

The airport previously had nonstop and direct Douglas DC-9-10 jet flights to Dallas Love Field (DAL) with continuing service to Houston operated by Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) which also flew DC-9 jets from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, Roswell and Midland/Odessa on a direct route to Dallas. Nonstop flights to Phoenix (PHX) were flown by America West Express with Beechcraft 1900C turboprops operated by Mesa Airlines. TTa subsequently changed its name to Texas International (TI) and continued to serve Santa Fe. Both TTa and TI also flew Convair 600 turboprops from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and other cities in New Mexico and Texas with many of these flights continuing to Dallas.

Trans World Airlines had a flight a day each way until 1960. TWA flew Lockheed Constellation propliners from Santa Fe direct to Kansas City, Chicago, New York and Boston, and also to Albuquerque and Los Angeles. During the early 1960s, Continental Airlines operated Vickers Viscount turboprops from Santa Fe direct to Denver, El Paso and Dallas, and also nonstop to Colorado Springs and Albuquerque. Continental had previously operated Douglas DC-3 propliners into the airport. The original Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) flew Convair 580 turboprops nonstop to Denver and direct to Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso during the 1960s.

In later years, several commuter airlines flew nonstop to Denver, including Mesa Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines with Beechcraft 1900C turboprops, and Pioneer Airlines with Beechcraft C99 turboprops. Mountain Air Express flew Dornier 328 propjets to Denver and Albuquerque on behalf of Western Pacific Airlines.

Period without airlines[edit]

At one point, Santa Fe had no scheduled passenger air service whatsoever. In June 2007, the airport was then upgraded to Class 1 status in order 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Currently, Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines and operating under the American Eagle brand) operates Embraer ERJ-140 and ERJ-145 regional jets on all of its nonstop flights between Santa Fe and Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW). SkyWest Airlines, operating as American Eagle, initiated nonstop service to Los Angeles (LAX) on November 14, 2012 with Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets and has thus replaced the Embraer regional jet service that was previously operated by American Eagle on the route to LAX.

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.[11] 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.[12] However, Great Lakes subsequently cancelled all flights once again from the airport and no longer serves Santa Fe.[13]

On December 19, 2012, it was announced that ExpressJet Airlines, operating as United Express on behalf of United Airlines, would initiate double daily regional jet service to Denver International Airport (DEN) beginning May 1, 2013.[14] Both flights have now commenced and are currently being operated with 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet aircraft. These flights comprise the first ever nonstop jet service between Santa Fe and Denver.

Potential closure of control tower[edit]

On March 1, 2013, it was announced that Santa Fe Municipal Airport may lose funding for operating its control tower due to federal budget cuts, leading to concerns that the airport may lose its commercial airline service.[15] On March 11, 2013, a letter to federal officials was sent by Santa Fe Mayor David Coss to appeal the closure of the control tower.[16] The appeal was rejected and the airport was included on the final list of control tower closures on March 22, 2013.[17]

After initially extending the deadline for closure to June 15, 2013, on May 10 the FAA announced that all federal contract towers previously threatened with closure in 2013 would remain open through September 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year, using previously unallocated funds in the agency's general budget.[18] Aviation advocacy groups have asked Congress to extend funding for the towers in FY2014 as well.[19]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Santa Fe Municipal Airport covers 2,128 acres (861 ha) at an elevation of 6,348 feet (1,935 m) above mean sea level. It has three asphalt runways: 2/20 is 8,342 by 150 feet (2,543 x 46 m); 15/33 is 6,307 by 100 feet (1,922 x 30 m); 10/28 is 6,300 by 75 feet (1,920 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][20]

The data below lists annual total aircraft operations from 2003–2013 from the FAA's Air Traffic Activity System. The percent changes indicate an average of 0.88% in aircraft operations per year over the last 10 years.[21]

Aircraft Operations: SAF 2003–2013[21]
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
United Express Denver


Carrier shares: August 2013 – July 2014[22]
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
Great Lakes

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

Top domestic destinations: August 2013 – July 2014[22]
Rank City Airport Passengers
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 33,000
2 Denver, CO Denver International (DEN) 25,000
3 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles International (LAX) 12,000
4 Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) 1,000
5 Albuquerque, NM Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) <1,000
5 Abilene, TX Abilene Regional Airport (ABI) <1,000


  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. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ Quick, Bob (February 26, 2009). "FAA clears airport for regional jets". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "American Eagle To Cut One Flight to Dallas". ABQ Journal. ABQ Journal. June 18, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ Quick, Bob (February 28, 2011). "American Eagle to add connections to Dallas-Fort Worth". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 1, 2011. 
  10. ^ "American Eagle adds 4th Santa Fe-DFW flight". KSWO. April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Santa Fe, NM – Official Website – Commercial Airlines". Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Airline plans flights between Santa Fe, Phoenix". Santa Fe New Mexican. March 15, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  13. ^, Route Map
  14. ^ "United to starts flights between Santa Fe, Denver". KGWN-TV. December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Federal budget cuts could force closure of Santa Fe airport's control tower". Santa Fe New Mexican. March 1, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Santa Fe appeals tower closing". KFDA-TV. March 11, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  17. ^ "FAA to close 149 air traffic towers, including Santa Fe and Double Eagle II". KOB-TV. March 22, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "Air Traffic Activity System". Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Municipal (SAF)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. July 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]