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 Santa Fe Municipal Airport opened in 1941. 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 was first served through Boyd Field, an airport that was on the west side of Cerrillos Road between Rodeo Road and Jaguar Drive. The current airport, several miles to the southwest, opened in 1941. Santa Fe's first commercial airline service was by Mid Continent Air Express around 1929 operating on a route from El Paso to Denver with stops at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, NM, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs, CO. The route was replaced with Western Air Express in 1931 and again 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 a 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. In 1940 Continental began 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] In 1951 Continental expanded its service and 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] In 1955 Continental merged with Pioneer Airlines and took over that carriers service on the Albuquerque - Santa Fe - Clovis - Lubbock - Abilene - Ft. Worth - Dallas route. By 1959, the airline had introduced its first turbine powered airliner service into Santa Fe with the four engine, British-manufactured Vickers Viscount turboprop operating on four of its six daily flights.[9] By 1963 Continental Airlines was growing rapidly with large jets and began transferring its route authority for its smaller cities to other carriers. The El Paso - Denver route with all the intermediate stops between the two cities was transferred to Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) and the Albuquerque - Dallas route with all the intermediate stops en route went to Trans-Texas Airways which resulted in Continental no longer serving the Santa Fe airport.[10]

Several other airlines served Santa Fe as well since the 1940s. In 1949, the airport was a stop on a transcontinental service operated by Trans World Airlines (TWA) with Douglas DC-3 aircraft 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. Albuquerque was later added as stop on the way to Winslow and the Martin 4-0-4 aircraft replaced the DC-3's.[11] By 1959, 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 - Los Angeles but only in the westbound direction. TWA's service to Santa Fe ended by late 1960.[12]

Pioneer Airlines began serving Santa Fe in 1948 with two daily round trip flights operated with Douglas DC-3s on 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 operating Martin 2-0-2 aircraft with direct, no change of plane flights to Houston Hobby Airport making eight stops en route (the stops at Las Vegas, NM and Tucumcari, NM had been dropped).[14] Pioneer was then acquired by and merged into Continental Airlines in 1955.

In 1963 the original Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) began flights to Santa Fe as one of six stops made on the El Paso - Denver route with Convair 340, Convair 440 and Douglas DC-3 prop aircraft. By the late 1960s Frontier was operating Convair 580 turboprops from the airport nonstop to Denver and Albuquerque, and direct to Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso.[15] In July 1972 Frontier (as well as Texas International Airlines) both ceased operating at Santa Fe citing unsafe runway conditions. Bison Airlines, a small commuter air carrier, also served the city in 1963 through 1964.

Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) began their Santa Fe service later in 1963 initially with Douglas DC-3 prop and later with Convair 600 turboprop aircraft. By 1967, TTa had introduced the first jet service into Santa Fe with the Douglas DC-9-10 to Dallas Love Field with continuing direct service to Houston Hobby Airport. DC-9s were also flown to Albuquerque, Roswell and Midland/Odessa on a flight routing to Dallas and Houston from Santa Fe.[16] Trans-Texas Airways changed its name to Texas International (TI) and discontinued DC-9 jet service into Santa Fe by early 1970 but continued to serve the airport with the Convair 600's until July 1972 when both Texas International and Frontier were forced to suspend all flights citing unsafe runway conditions. Neither carrier ever returned.[17]

By the mid 1970s, three small commuter airlines, Mountain Air, Trans American Airways, and Zia Airlines, were serving the airport using Cessna 402 and Piper Navajo prop aircraft with flights to Denver and Albuquerque. Zia also operated flights to Farmington, New Mexico for a short time and had upgraded to Handley Page Jetstream propjet aircraft in 1979 but went out of business by early 1980.[18] A home based airline, The Santa Fe Airline Company, as well as Stahmann Farms had service to Albuquerque around 1980. During the 1980s through the mid 2000s, several other commuter airlines flew nonstop to Denver including the then-new commuter version of Pioneer Airlines flying Beechcraft 99 and Swearingen Metro aircraft followed by Mesa Airlines in 1985 operating Beechcraft 1300 and Beechcraft 1900 turboprops.[19] 1985 saw brief operations by JetAire who flew Handley Page Jetstream propjets to Albuquerque and Las Cruces and by Great Southwest Airlines with Piper Cheyenne flights to Roswell. From the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, Mesa Airlines operated shuttle service between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, first with the Cessna 208 Caravan turboprop and then with Beechcraft 1900C turboprops with up to seven round trip flights a day. In 1995 Mesa's flights to Denver were upgraded to operate on behalf of United Airlines as United Express.[20] Mountain Air Express flew Dornier 328 propjets nonstop to Colorado Springs and in 1997 on behalf of Western Pacific Airlines as a feeder service.[21] Aspen Mountain Air also briefly served Santa Fe in the late 1990s with Dornier 328's on behalf of American Airlines by reinstating nonstop flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth. Great Lakes Aviation took over the Santa Fe - Denver flights as United Express with Beechcraft 1900D aircraft when the Mesa Airlines contract ran out in 1998. Great Lakes had increased their Denver service to eleven (11) flights per day but then lost their United Express designation in early 2002. They continued to serve Santa Fe independently via their own identity until 2007 as no other United Express carrier had implemented service. Great Lakes returned to Santa Fe with flights to Denver, Phoenix, and Clovis for a short period in 2013 until ExpressJet operating as United Express with Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets arrived. America West Express operated by Mesa Air/Air Midwest also briefly served Santa Fe in 2000 and 2001 with Beechcraft 1900s nonstop to Phoenix via a code sharing feeder service for America West Airlines.[22]

Period without airlines[edit]

From December 11, 2007 until June 11, 2009, Santa Fe had no scheduled passenger airline 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 in Dec., 2007 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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

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); This service is supplemented with ExpressJet Airlines operating as American Eagle with 50-seat Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets. SkyWest Airlines, operating as American Eagle, started nonstop service to Los Angeles on November 15, 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.[30] 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.[31] However, Great Lakes subsequently cancelled all flights once again from the airport and no longer serves Santa Fe.[32]

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.[33] 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. This service was replaced by Trans States Airlines on July 2, 2015 which also operates Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets. A third daily flight to Denver will operate from September 24 through October 23, 2015.


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][34]

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.[35]

Aircraft Operations: SAF 2003–2013[35]
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
United Express Denver


Carrier shares: Dec 2013 – Nov 2014[36]
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: June 2014 – May 2015[36]
Rank Airport Passengers Airlines
1 Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 39,000 American Eagle
2 Denver International (DEN) 27,000 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. ^[dead link]
  3. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.  External link in |work= (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ "Varney Speed Lines (Southwest Division)". Airline Timetable Images. September 20, 1934. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. July 1, 1937. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. May 1, 1944. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. May 1, 1948. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. November 1, 1951. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Continental Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. September 27, 1959. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Continental Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. July 1, 1963. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Trans World Airways". Airline Timetable Images. September 24, 1950. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Trans World Airways". Airline Timetable Images. January 12, 1959. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Pioneer Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. October 12, 1948. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Pioneer Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. November 1, 1953. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Frontier Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. July 10, 1963. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Trans-Texas Airways". Airline Timetable Images. August 1968. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Texas International". Departed Flights. July 1, 1970. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Santa Fe schedules[citation needed]
  19. ^ "April 1, 1981; October 1, 1991 & April 2, 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Denver-Santa Fe schedules". Departed Flights. Retrieved September 4, 2015. [not in citation given]
  20. ^ "December 15, 1989 & April 2, 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Albuquerque-Santa Fe schedules". Departed Flights. Retrieved September 4, 2015. [not in citation given]
  21. ^ "Western Pacific Airlines". Departed Flights. June 29, 1997. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  22. ^ Various timetables by all the airlines that have served Santa Fe
  23. ^ "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. 
  24. ^ Quick, Bob (February 26, 2009). "FAA clears airport for regional jets". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 3, 2009. [dead link]
  25. ^ American Eagle Airlines (June 11, 2009). "American Eagle Airlines Launches Nonstop Jet Service Between Santa Fe, N.M., and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport". PR Newswire. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  26. ^ American Eagle Airlines (December 14, 2009). "American Eagle Airlines Boosts Service From Dallas/Fort Worth to Santa Fe, N.M. Beginning February 11, 2010". PR Newswire. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  27. ^ "American Eagle To Cut One Flight to Dallas". Albuquerque Journal. June 18, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010. [dead link]
  28. ^ Quick, Bob (February 28, 2011). "American Eagle to add connections to Dallas-Fort Worth". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 1, 2011. [dead link]
  29. ^ "American Eagle adds 4th Santa Fe-DFW flight". KSWO-TV. April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. [dead link]
  30. ^ "Santa Fe, NM – Official Website – Commercial Airlines". City of Santa Fe. Retrieved January 16, 2012. [dead link]
  31. ^ Grimm, Julie Ann (March 15, 2013). "Airline plans flights between Santa Fe, Phoenix". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Route Map" (Map). Great Lakes Airlines. January 4, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  33. ^ "United to starts flights between Santa Fe, Denver". KGWN-TV. December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012. [dead link]
  34. ^ "Santa Fe Municipal Airport". AirNav. August 20, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  35. ^ a b "Air Traffic Activity System". Retrieved October 29, 2014. [dead link]
  36. ^ a b "Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Municipal (SAF)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. U.S. Department of Transportation. May 2015. Retrieved Feb 2015. 

External links[edit]