Air travel makes a comeback at Albuquerque Sunport

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thousands of people are catching flights at the Albuquerque Sunport as travel picks up again.

Matt Gallegos, of Grand Junction, Colorado, is one of those travelers.

"I’ve actually been flying before and during the pandemic and everything’s great,” he said. “They’re still speedy and just having to wear the masks the whole time, but it’s not a big deal.”

During a Tuesday morning press conference, Mayor Tim Keller and Sunport Director Nyika Allen said the Sunport is making a comeback.

"The Sunport is certainly still feeling the effects of the pandemic, but we continue to be encouraged by increasing passenger numbers and flight availability,” Allen said.

The Sunport is now averaging about 7,300 passengers per day, and travel is up 1000% from the peak of the pandemic last year.

"It’s hard to believe that is was just a couple of months ago when these escalators were literally empty, so it’s great to see people coming off and getting on,” the mayor said.

In order to keep returning passengers safe, the Sunport is using five cleaning robots to sanitize the terminals each night.

"There’s a lot of protections in place for people,” Allen said. “Definitely distancing is still important and even if with our numbers coming back you can still find your own space within the terminal.”

Several airport shops and restaurants have also reopened and are offering sign-on bonuses for new employees because of a worker shortage.

"So if you’re looking for a job, think about one here at the Sunport,” Allen added.