Santa Fe Regional Airport

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Santa Fe Regional Airport
Santa Fe Municipal Airport.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Santa Fe
ServesSanta Fe, New Mexico
Elevation AMSL6,348 ft / 1,935 m
Coordinates35°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 / United States
SAF is located in the US
SAF (the US)
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 (2014)
Aircraft operations66,344
Based aircraft207

Santa Fe Regional Airport[2] (IATA: SAF, ICAO: KSAF, FAA LID: SAF) is ten miles southwest of Santa Fe, in Santa Fe County, New Mexico.[1]

The Santa Fe Regional 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.[3] 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).[4]


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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] In 1955 Continental merged with Pioneer Airlines and took over that carrier's 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.[10] 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.[11]

Trans World Airlines, (TWA), began Santa Fe service in 1949 by adding the city as a stop on its transcontinental mainline route using Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Initially the daily routing was 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.[12] 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.[13]

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 [14] 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).[15] Pioneer was then acquired by and merged into Continental Airlines in 1955.

Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) began flights to Santa Fe in 1963 replacing Continental Airlines at four stops made on the El Paso - Denver route. Frontier initially operated Douglas DC-3, Convair 340, and Convair 440 prop aircraft. By the late 1960s Frontier was operating Convair 580 turboprops from the airport nonstop to Denver and Albuquerque, with direct service to Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso.[16] In June 1972 Frontier (as well as Texas International Airlines) both ceased operating at Santa Fe citing unsafe runway conditions.

Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) began their Santa Fe service later in 1963 replacing Continental Airlines at all the stops made on the Albuquerque - Dallas route that Continental acquired from Pioneer Air Lines eight years prior. Initially the carrier used Douglas DC-3 prop aircraft and later upgraded to Convair 600 turboprops. In 1967, TTa had introduced the first jet service into Santa Fe with the Douglas DC-9-10 on nonstop flights 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.[17] 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 June 1972 when both Texas International and Frontier were forced to suspend all flights citing unsafe runway conditions. Neither carrier ever returned.[18]

During the 1960s and 1970s decades, several small commuter airlines served Santa Fe including Bison, Trans Central, The Santa Fe Airline Company, Mountain Air, Trans American Airways, Zia Airlines and Stahmann Farms. These carriers used a variety of commuter aircraft including Cessna 402's and Piper Navajo's on flights to Albuquerque and Denver. Zia had served Santa Fe from 1974 through 1980, also operating flights to Farmington, New Mexico for a short time and had upgraded to Handley Page Jetstream propjet aircraft in 1979.[19]

Larger commuter and regional carriers served Santa Fe from the 1980s through the mid 2000s. A second Pioneer Airlines began flights to Denver in 1981 flying Beechcraft 99 and Swearingen Metro aircraft. This Pioneer Airlines went on to becoming a Continental Commuter feeder carrier on behalf of Continental Airlines in 1983 before ending service in 1985. This was the first major airline code-share service recorded in New Mexico.[20]

Mesa Airlines began service in 1985 operating Cessna 208 Caravan, Beechcraft 99, Beechcraft 1300, and Beechcraft 1900 turboprops.[21] Mesa first operated shuttle service between Santa Fe and Albuquerque then later began service to Denver. In 1995 Mesa's flights to Denver were upgraded to operate on behalf of United Airlines as United Express but all service ended in 1998 and was replaced by Great Lakes Aviation.[22]

Mountain Air Express, a feeder carrier for Western Pacific Airlines, flew Dornier 328 propjets nonstop to Colorado Springs in the spring of 1997.[23]

Aspen Mountain Air served Santa Fe from 1997 through 1998 with Dornier 328's on behalf of American Airlines by reinstating nonstop flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth. Although Aspen Mountain Air operated under a code-share agreement with American, they were not considered as American Eagle.

Great Lakes Aviation came to Santa Fe in 1998 by resuming the United Express flights to Denver after the Mesa Airlines contract expired. Great Lakes also used Beechcraft 1900D aircraft and had increased their Denver service to as many as twelve 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 carriers 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 Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets initiated service to Denver as United Express.

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.[24]

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 December, 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.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31]

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, replaced American Eagle Airlines service to Los Angeles on November 15, 2012 with Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets. All service to Los Angeles ended on September 8, 2015 at which time all American Eagle service to Dallas/Ft. Worth began operating by ExpressJet. On December 15, 2016 American Eagle operated by SkyWest Airlines began service from Santa Fe to Phoenix using a larger, 70-seat, Canadair-700 regional jet and on February 16, 2017, American Eagle operated by ExpressJet upgraded its three daily flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth to Canadair-700 regional jets as well.

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.[32] 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.[33] However, Great Lakes subsequently cancelled all flights once again from the airport and no longer serves Santa Fe.[34]

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.[35] 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 operated from September 24 through October 23, 2015. During October, 2016, four daily flights to Denver were operated.

On September 27 2017, the Santa Fe City Council approved an expansion plan for the airport to better accommodate future airline service.[36] Coinciding with the approval of this expansion plan is a renaming of the airport from Santa Fe Municipal Airport to Santa Fe Regional Airport.

New Mexico Army National Guard[edit]

The airport is home to an Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) for Company C, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment (C/1-171 AVN) of the New Mexico Army National Guard, flying the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.[37]


Santa Fe Regional 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][38]

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.[39]

Aircraft Operations: SAF 2003–2013[39]
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]


American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
United Express Denver


Carrier shares: (Apr 2017 – Mar 2018)[40]
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
Trans States
Top domestic destinations from SAF
Apr 2017 – Mar 2018
Rank Airport Passengers Airlines
1 Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 57,000 American
2 Denver International (DEN) 31,000 United
3 Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Arizona (PHX) 19,000 American


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for SAF (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on September 3, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ . As of December 15, 2016, Santa Fe is now served by American Eagle with regional jet flights to Dallas/Fort worth and Phoenix and by United Express with regional jets to Denver. "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012. External link in |work= (help)
  5. ^ "Varney Speed Lines (Southwest Division)". Airline Timetable Images. September 20, 1934. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. July 1, 1937. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. May 1, 1944. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. May 1, 1948. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "Continental Air Lines". Airline Timetable Images. November 1, 1951. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "Continental Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. September 27, 1959. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Continental Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. July 1, 1963. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Trans World Airways". Airline Timetable Images. September 24, 1950. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Trans World Airways". Airline Timetable Images. January 12, 1959. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "Pioneer Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. October 12, 1948. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "Pioneer Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. November 1, 1953. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Frontier Airlines". Airline Timetable Images. July 10, 1963. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "Trans-Texas Airways". Airline Timetable Images. August 1968. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  18. ^ "Texas International". Departed Flights. July 1, 1970. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  19. ^ February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Santa Fe schedules[citation needed]
  20. ^ Pioneer and Continental Airlines timetables
  21. ^ "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]
  22. ^ "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]
  23. ^ "Western Pacific Airlines". Departed Flights. June 29, 1997. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  24. ^ Various timetables by all the airlines that have served Santa Fe
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ Quick, Bob (February 26, 2009). "FAA clears airport for regional jets". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "American Eagle To Cut One Flight to Dallas". Albuquerque Journal. June 18, 2010. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  30. ^ Quick, Bob (February 28, 2011). "American Eagle to add connections to Dallas-Fort Worth". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  31. ^ "American Eagle adds 4th Santa Fe-DFW flight". KSWO-TV. April 3, 2012. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  32. ^ "Santa Fe, NM – Official Website – Commercial Airlines". City of Santa Fe. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  33. ^ Grimm, Julie Ann (March 15, 2013). "Airline plans flights between Santa Fe, Phoenix". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  34. ^ "Route Map" (Map). Great Lakes Airlines. January 4, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  35. ^ "United to starts flights between Santa Fe, Denver". KGWN-TV. December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012.[dead link]
  36. ^ Stelnicki, Tripp (September 27, 2017). "City Council greenlights airport expansion plan". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Santa Fe Municipal Airport". AirNav. August 20, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  39. ^ a b "Air Traffic Activity System". Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  40. ^ a b "Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Municipal (SAF)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. U.S. Department of Transportation. May 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2017.

External links[edit]