Sunport preparing for a possible cut in flights

Created: 03/28/2014 6:26 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When you fly, the less stops before your destination, the better.

“I travel with a two-year-old so when I stop its hard,” said traveler Whitney Larsen.

“We want to make sure we are doing everything that we can to keep our community connected,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. He says Sunport travelers will have new options.

Alaska Airlines will now be providing non-stop flights from Albuquerque to Seattle.

Last year Jet Blue started non-stop flights to New York.

Mayor Berry says this is part of a bigger push to counteract potential flight cuts from Southwest Airlines.

“We have a great partner in Southwest Airlines, but you know there maybe changes coming in their scheduling,” Mayor Berry said.

The countdown is on in Dallas.

In October, the Wright Amendment will be lifted.

The Wright Amendment limited non-stop flights from Dallas Love Field to only nine states.

That meant a lot of Southwest flights stopped in Albuquerque.

But when the amendment expires, passengers will be able to fly non-stop to cities all over the country for the first time since 1979.

Sunport officials say they could lose 12 percent of their overall travelers because of that change.

“Air service and the economy go hand in hand,” said Sunport Spokesperson Daniel Jiron.

Mayor Berry says he will be visiting Southwest representatives in Dallas next month to soften the blow. He wants to try to get more non-stop Southwest flights from Albuquerque.

Something local travelers would like to see more of.

Traveler Ted Piccolo gave a thumbs-up, “Because we don't have to stop and I come down here quite often.”

Southwest Airlines make up to 60 percent of the total flights in and out of the Sunport.

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