Albuquerque International Sunport
Albuquerque International Sunport (IATA: ABQ, ICAO: KABQ, FAA LID: ABQ) is the primary international airport serving the US State of New Mexico, the Albuquerque metropolitan area, as well as the larger Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas CSA, handling 5,467,693 passengers in 2018. It is located in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, between the Rio Grande river and the Sandia Mountains, east of Old Town Albuquerque and Barelas, 3 miles (5 km) southeast of downtown Albuquerque, south of the University of New Mexico, and directly to the west of Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base.
Albuquerque International Sunport
|Owner||City of Albuquerque, NM, USA|
|Operator||Albuquerque Aviation Department|
|Serves||Albuquerque metropolitan area|
(Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas CSA)
|Location||2200 Sunport Boulevard SE|
Albuquerque, New Mexico
|Time zone||MST (UTC−07:00)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC−06:00)|
|Elevation AMSL||5,355 ft / 1,632 m|
The airport serves as a focus airport for Southwest Airlines and is also served with domestic commercial flights by Advanced Air, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Boutique Air, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines. Cargo airlines serving the airport are FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, Empire Airlines (a FedEx Feeder carrier), Ameriflight, and South Aero. The airport is designated as Class C airspace.
Restaurants and shops within the airport include national brands like Hudson News and Book Sellers, Keva Juice, and Panda Express. It also includes regional gift shops and local eateries such as Black Mesa Coffee, Rio Grande Brew Pub & Grill, and New Mexican cuisine restaurants like Tia Juanita’s and Comida Buena.
Albuquerque was first served by two private airports. Oxnard Field opened in 1928, and West Mesa Airport, also known as the TWA airport, opened in 1930. The first airlines to serve the airports were Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), Western Air Express (WAE), and Mid Continent Air Express, all inaugurating service in 1929. At first the airlines operated from Oxnard Field (which was also called Albuquerque Airport) but moved to the West Mesa Airport for most of the 1930s decade. TAT and WAE merged in 1930 to form Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). Mid Continent Air Express' service was replaced by Varney Speed Lines in 1934. Three years later Varney changed its name to Continental Airlines.
In 1935 it was suggested that the city build a new public airport using Works Progress Administration money. Having secured US$520,500 in funding, Governor Clyde Tingley broke ground for the project on February 28, 1937. Albuquerque Municipal Airport opened in 1939 with two paved runways, a Pueblo Style terminal building designed by Ernest Blumenthal, and a massive hangar designed to accommodate the new Boeing 307 operated by TWA. TWA became Trans World Airlines in 1946. Monarch Airlines came to Albuquerque in 1947 then merged with other carriers to become Frontier Airlines in 1950. Pioneer Airlines began service in 1948 and merged into Continental Airlines in 1955. The airport was renamed Albuquerque Sunport on April 17, 1963.
The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 31 weekday departures: 13 on Continental Airlines, 12 on TWA and 6 on Frontier Airlines. Trans-Texas Airways (later Texas International Airlines) came to Albuquerque in 1963 rounding out the first four carriers to serve the airport prior to the airline deregulation act of 1978.
The present terminal was designed by William E. Burk Jr. It is built just east of the original terminal, and opened on November 12, 1965. At first the terminal had eight gates, four at the main building and another four at a small satellite building to the south connected by a tunnel. None of the gates had jetbridges.
The terminal has been expanded several times, first in 1973 when a west wing was added with a large gate and jetbridge able to handle new wide-body aircraft. TWA used this gate to introduce the Lockheed L-1011 to Albuquerque in 1974 with flights to Chicago. After airline deregulation was passed in 1978, a flood of new airlines came to ABQ. The west wing was expanded in 1980 with three more gates, all of which had jetbridges and were used extensively by TWA and many new carriers. Southwest Airlines started service on April 3, 1980, using the old gates 1 and 2 at the main terminal and installed three ground level jetbridges at these two gates.
In 1987-89 the terminal was expanded and renovated advertising a design by Phillip Jacobson and BPLW Associates. The satellite gate building was replaced with two concourses, A and B, giving the Sunport 19 new gates, all with jetbridges. Concourse A was further expanded in 1996 with four additional gates. The new above-ground connector link to the concourses was greatly expanded in 2005 to accommodate the need for additional security screening by the TSA after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The airport gained international status and was renamed the Albuquerque International Airport on September 27, 1971. The name was changed to Albuquerque International Sunport in 1994.
Historical airline serviceEdit
The Sunport is served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, jetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines, as well as two commuter airlines, Advanced Air and Boutique Air. Total weekday departures averaged 85 flights per day in 2019 however the Sunport peaked with 163 flights per day in December, 1995 and again in August, 2001. In the past Albuquerque has been served by the following commercial airlines:
- TWA, Continental, Frontier (1950–1986), Texas International, Eastern, Western, Northwest, America West, Braniff, Pan Am, Wein Air Alaska, PSA, Reno Air, Western Pacific, AeroMexico, US Airways, and Volaris.
TWA was first: passenger flights began in 1929, Albuquerque being was a stop on the route between Los Angeles and New York. TWA had the first jets to serve ABQ, the Boeing 707 and Convair 880 in 1961. In 1974 TWA brought the first wide-body jet to ABQ, the Lockheed 1011. Service peaked in 1979 with 21 daily departures to 13 cities including nonstops to Los Angeles and New York. After airline deregulation in the early 1980s, TWA downsized its operation and in 1985 only had flights to its hub at St. Louis. Service continued until December 2, 2001, when the carrier merged with American Airlines.
Continental Airlines was second at Albuquerque, since 1934 as a stop on its north–south route between Denver and El Paso. In 1940 Continental added flights to several smaller cities in Southeastern New Mexico but that was transferred to Frontier and Trans Texas Airways in 1963. In the latter half of the 1960s Continental expanded with Boeing 720, Boeing 727, and Douglas DC-9 jets nonstop to Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, San Antonio, and San Francisco. Service peaked in summer 1977 with 24 daily departures. Continental downsized its operation after airline deregulation and by 1994 was only flying to its Houston hub (a nonstop flight to Newark was added for a period in the mid-2000s). Continental merged with United Airlines in 2012.
Frontier Airlines began service to Albuquerque in 1947 as Monarch Airlines, flying to Salt Lake City with stops at many smaller cities in the four corners states. Service was expanded in the 1960s with Boeing 727 and Boeing 737 jets to Denver, El Paso, Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas, and Las Vegas and in 1973 Frontier operated 19 daily flights at ABQ. Frontier began the first international flights to several resort cities in Mexico in the early 1980s but the carrier closed down in 1986. A new Frontier Airlines came to ABQ in 1994 with flights to Denver and El Paso. The carrier discontinued service in 2014 but returned in October, 2017 with flights once again to Denver. Service to Austin, Orlando and San Antonio were added in 2018 but discontinued in 2019.
Pioneer Airlines served Albuquerque between 1948 and 1955 with two flights per day to Dallas, Texas making eight stops en route. Pioneer merged into Continental Airlines in 1955 and by 1959 Continental was flying the route nonstop. The Albuquerque to Dallas route would be a major stronghold for Continental for the next 20 years.
In 1963 Trans-Texas Airways came to Albuquerque, taking over service to the smaller cities in New Mexico that Continental had served. It later expanded with nonstop Douglas DC-9s to Dallas and Los Angeles. TTa became Texas International Airlines in 1969 and flew DC-9's from ABQ to Santa Fe and Roswell, New Mexico. The carrier peaked in 1975 with 15 daily departures and merged with Continental Airlines in 1982.
Southwest Airlines began service to the Sunport in 1980 and expanded quickly creating a hub at ABQ. The carrier took over the number one spot by the early 1980s and peaked with 66 daily departures in October 2001. Although Southwest has cut back since then, it has served 28 cities nonstop from ABQ.
At least 34 commuter and regional airlines have served Albuquerque, the largest of these by far was Mesa Airlines which served the Sunport from 1980 through 2007. Mesa peaked with 46 daily departures in 1990 and served 18 cities in New Mexico and Colorado nonstop from their hub in ABQ. Mesa still serves ABQ but now as a regional airline providing feeder service for American Eagle and United Express on regional jets. Other larger commuter airlines that served the Sunport for many years include Air Midwest and Great Lakes Airlines.
Regional airlines serving the airport on behalf of the majors are; SkyWest, ExpressJet, Republic, TransStates, GoJet, Compass, Envoy, and Horizon Air. Sun Country Airlines, Xtra Airways, Swift Air, and Elite Airways also serve ABQ with regular public charter flights to Laughlin and Wendover, Nevada.
In November, 2018, low-cost Mexican carrier Volaris began serving Albuquerque from Guadalajara, Mexico and later from Chihuahua, Mexico. Volaris stopped serving Albuquerque in June 2019 due to very low passenger loads and a disagreement over government subsidies to its flights. These were the only two international destinations offered by any airline flying to Albuquerque.
Military facilities and operationsEdit
The Sunport began a new role in 1940 when it was designated Albuquerque Army Air Base, the precursor to today's Kirtland Air Force Base. The airport continues to share its runways with Kirtland AFB, which also handles rescue and firefighting operations. An Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) installation, the host unit is the 377th Air Base Wing (377 ABW). Flying units at Kirtland AFB consist of the 58th Special Operations Wing (58 SOW) of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the 150th Fighter Wing (150 FW), an Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained unit of the New Mexico Air National Guard.
The Airport Master Plan drafted in 2002 lays out intermediate- and long-term projects at the Sunport, including the removal of Runway 17/35 and the construction of a second terminal when traffic demands it. The runway closure recommendation was based on safety, noise abatement, and the cost of upkeep. Because 17/35 intersected all three of the other runways, it ran the highest risk of runway incursions. The runway was closed in Summer 2012, and the tarmac is used for taxiing aircraft, and for a firefighting training aircraft located on the north end. The configuration of the other three runways, in conjunction with typical wind patterns, enabled them to handle departures and landings more efficiently.
In the longer term, the plan calls for a new terminal to be built to the northeast of the existing terminal. A people mover system will connect the terminal with parking facilities and the existing terminal.
Albuquerque International Sunport Airport covers 2,039 acres (825 ha) and has three runways. In 2014 the airport had 130,002 aircraft operations, an average of 356 per day: 40% scheduled commercial, 21% air taxi, 24% general aviation and 15% military. As of November 2017[update], there were 139 fixed-wing aircraft and 19 helicopters based at the airport, 40 (~25%) of which were military-affiliated. ABQ's terminal, which was expanded in the late 1980s, and again to its present size in 1996, encompasses 574,000 sq ft (53,300 m²) of space. The airport has a Pueblo Revival style passenger terminal which houses two concourses and an area for commuter airline gates.
The largest passenger aircraft scheduled into Albuquerque is the Airbus A321, operated by Delta Air Lines on flights to Atlanta. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Frontier Airlines occasionally operate Airbus A321's as equipment swaps. The largest regular passenger aircraft used to be the Boeing 757-200 operated by Delta Airlines, who flew the aircraft to and from Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. The largest commercial aircraft the Sunport usually sees is a FedEx or UPS Boeing 767-300, replacing the latter's McDonnell Douglas DC-10 McDonnell Douglas MD-11 that now only fly in on rare occasions. The largest passenger aircraft to have ever flown in is the Boeing 777, of which some flying for United have been diverted to the Sunport from Denver International Airport on a couple of occasions.
In 2013 the aerial firefighting company, 10 Tanker Air Carrier, moved its headquarters to Albuquerque and currently have three DC-10 large air tankers based out of Albuquerque International Sunport.
The largest aircraft of any type to regularly visit the Sunport is the C-5 Galaxy. In 1974 and again from 1982 through 1992 the airport had scheduled Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1011s. The largest aircraft to have ever visited the Sunport is the Antonov An-124, of which some have landed at the airport on a couple of extremely rare occasions.
Albuquerque International Sunport has one terminal with 25 gates in four concourses, including a concourse for commuter airline gates. Concourse A has 13 gates: A1 – A12, A14. Concourse B has 9 gates: B1, B3-B10 (Gate B2 was removed during the security hall expansion in 2005). Concourse E has 2 gates: E1 & E2. Concourse C, originally known as the west wing, consisted of four gates (11, 12, 14, & 15). Gate 11 was closed when the terminal was expanded in 1989 and the remaining three gates were renumbered to C1, C2, & C3. TWA continued to use these gates for a few more years until gates C2 and C3 showed signs of structural failure and later had to be demolished. TWA moved to concourse B and the lobby area of gate C1 (the gate built in 1973) has mostly been converted to office space. The lower level of gate C1 houses U. S. Customs and is still used for occasional international arriving flights. Concourse D was a ground-level commuter aircraft concourse that was used by Great Plains Airlines. It was closed in 2004 after Great Plains Airlines liquidated due to insolvency. In 2019, concourse E (commuter airline gates) was renamed to concourse C and concourse C (international arrivals) was renamed to concourse D.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
|Ameriflight||Alamogordo, Phoenix-Sky Harbor|
|FedEx Express||Lubbock, Memphis|
| FedEx Feeder|
operated by Empire Airlines
|Durango, Farmington, Gallup|
|South Aero||Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas (NM), Roswell, Silver City, Tucumcari|
|UPS Airlines||Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Louisville, Ontario, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Portland (OR)|
Top domestic destinationsEdit
|1||Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona||316,000||American, Southwest|
|2||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||306,000||American|
|3||Denver, Colorado||251,000||Southwest, United, Frontier|
|4||Los Angeles, California||192,000||Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, United|
|6||Las Vegas, Nevada||154,000||Allegiant, Southwest|
|9||Chicago O'Hare, Illinois||119,000||American, United|
|10||San Diego, California||93,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
The data below lists annual total aircraft operations from 2004–2017 from the FAA's Air Traffic Activity System. The percent changes indicate an average of −2.91% in aircraft operations per year over the last 10 years.
|Calendar year||Aircraft operations||%|
General aviation supportEdit
Support for private, corporate, and general aviation aircraft pilots and passengers are handled by two fixed-base operators at Albuquerque International Sunport: Atlantic Aviation and Cutter Aviation and Albuquerque Aero services which handles Avionics and Electrical. All three are located on the Southeast section of the airport off Clark Carr Loop.
ABQ RIDE offers bus service (Routes 50, 222, and 250) at the west side of the baggage claim area.
ABQ RIDE Route 222 provides connecting service to the New Mexico Rail Runner Express Bernalillo County/International Sunport Station, while ABQ RIDE Route 250 provides nonstop service to the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown Albuquerque. The Rail Runner provides service north and south of the airport, including Downtown Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Rental Car ServiceEdit
ABQ operates the Car Rental Center and provides free, courtesy shuttles every 5 minutes between the airport terminal and the facility. The following companies are located at the Car Rental Center; Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty.
Scheduled shuttle bus serviceEdit
Regularly scheduled bus and shuttle service is provided by various carriers to locations from ABQ to the city and to Santa Fe.
Taxis can be hailed through the Ground Transportation employees outside the baggage claim areas.
Incidents and accidentsEdit
- On February 19, 1955, TWA Flight 260, a Martin 4-0-4 bound for Santa Fe, crashed into the Sandia Mountains shortly after takeoff. All 16 people on board the flight were killed.
- On September 11, 1958, a US Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger slid off the end of Runway 35 in heavy rain and struck a car on Gibson Boulevard before coming to rest in an empty lot on the north side of the street. Both occupants of the car were killed.
- On November 27, 1971, in the early morning hours, TWA Flight 106, a Boeing 727 destined for Chicago, was hijacked to Cuba. The hijackers, three men who had killed a New Mexico State Police Officer two weeks prior, were taken into custody in Havana and never returned to the United States.
- On November 3, 1973, National Airlines Flight 27, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, suffered a catastrophic engine failure over an area near Datil, NM while en route from Houston to Las Vegas. Shrapnel from the engine struck the fuselage and caused an explosive decompression of the aircraft. One passenger was blown out of the cabin and killed. The plane was able to make an emergency landing at ABQ with no further fatalities.
- On September 14, 1977, a USAF Boeing EC-135 crashed into the Manzano Mountains just after takeoff, killing all 20 people on board.
- On July 6, 1997, Delta Air Lines Flight 1470, a Boeing 727 suffered a right landing gear failure after landing on Runway 21. While there were no fatalities, 3 people were injured and the aircraft suffered serious damage.
- The Sunport provides free Wi-Fi internet access. In February 2005, the Sunport was voted one of the top five U.S. airports for wireless access, according to a Microsoft Small Business Center poll. The Sunport was the only one among the top 5 that provided free internet. As of January 2019, the service is still provided free.
- There is a free cell phone parking area, where meeters and greeters can park and wait for a call from their arriving passenger before driving to the front of the terminal for pickup.
- There are two free aircraft observation areas, including one near the aforementioned Cellphone lot that is adjacent to now-closed Runway 17/35. A larger observation area is at the southwest corner of the airfield property, near the approach end of Runway 3 and accessible from Spirit Dr. SE. These areas were created to replace a large parking area adjacent to the approach ends of Runways 8 and 12 that closed in 2007; an Eclipse Aerospace aircraft painting facility now occupies this location.
- "Airport". City of Albuquerque. Archived from the original on August 27, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.[self-published source]
- FAA Airport Master Record for ABQ ( PDF), effective June 5, 2008
- "Facts and Figures". Albuquerque International Sunport. City of Albuquerque. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Biebel, Charles D. (1986). Making the Most of It: Public Works in Albuquerque during the Great Depression 1929–1942. Albuquerque, New Mexico: The Albuquerque Museum. pp. 66–67.
- Price, Vincent Barrett (2003) . Albuquerque: A City at the End of the World (2nd ed.). Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-8263-3097-5.
- timetables from all the airlines that have served Albuquerque
- Hamway, Stephen (July 2, 2019). "Ay, Chihuahua! International flight cancelled". Albuquerque Journal. Archived from the original on July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
- "FedEx Donates Boeing 727-200F Aircraft to Albuquerque International Sunport". City of Albuquerque. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
- Coffman Associates (September 2002). Albuquerque International Sunport, Airport Master Plan, Executive Summary (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 30, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- "AirportIQ 5010". GCR. November 9, 2017. Archived from the original on November 29, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- "Terminal Level 2 Ticketing Level" (PDF) (Map). Albuquerque International Sunport. City of Albuquerque. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Miles, Tom (March 4, 2010). "Albuquerque Sunport turned 70!". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- "Advanced Air Shuttles | Book a Seat on Our Shuttle Flights". Archived from the original on January 6, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "Flight Timetable". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- "Allegiant Announces Largest Service Expansion In Company History With 3 New Cities And 44 Nonstop Routes". Allegiant Airlines.
- Davis, Ron (July 18, 2017). "Major airline returning to Albuquerque International Sunport". Albuquerque Business First. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
Jiron said before Frontier left in 2014, the airline had been a mainstay at the Sunport for decades.
- "Allegiant Air". Archived from the original on February 24, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Flight schedules and notifications". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Route Map and Schedule". Archived from the original on December 5, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- Mutzabaugh, Ben (July 18, 2017). "Blockbuster expansion: Frontier to add 21 cities, 85 routes". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 21, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
The 18 that Frontier is restoring service to are: Albuquerque; Boise;...
- "JetBlue Airlines Timetable". Archived from the original on July 13, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- "Check Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Timetable". Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Sunport Passenger History (PDF) (Report). Albuquerque International Sunport/City of Albuquerque. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Air Traffic Activity System". Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "Sunport Facts & Figures". City of Albuquerque. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "Sunport Facts & Figures". City of Albuquerque. Archived from the original on September 22, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)". RENT A CAR WIKI. March 27, 2017. Archived from the original on March 28, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- "Aviation Safety Network: Aircraft accident description Martin 4-0-4 N40416 – Sandia Mountain, NM". Aviation Safety Network. February 19, 1955. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Palmer, Mo (August 10, 2006). "Remembering past tragedies." The Albuquerque Tribune.
- Wikipedia: List of Cuba-United States Aircraft Hijackings
- "Aircraft accident description McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N60NA – Socorro, NM". Aviation Safety Network. November 3, 1973. Archived from the original on March 17, 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- "Air Force Plane Crashes in New Mexico; 20 Dead". Observer-Reporter. Washington, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. September 16, 1977. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Factual Report Aviation Boeing 727-247 N2809W (PDF) (Report). National Transportation Safety Board. July 6, 1997. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- O'Hara, Sean (August 7, 2005). "Sunport's free WiFi service grabbing national attention". Albuquerque Business First. Archived from the original on March 30, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Albuquerque International Sunport.|
- Albuquerque International Sunport
- Del Sol Aviation
- Jeppesen airport diagram for 1955
- Jeppesen airport diagram for 1965
- (PDF), effective January 30, 2020
- FAA Terminal Procedures for ABQ, effective January 30, 2020
- Resources for this airport: