Air Force considers expanding its airspace in SE New Mexico | KOB 4
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Air Force considers expanding its airspace in SE New Mexico

Casey Torres
March 12, 2018 07:07 PM

ROSWELL, N.M.— Last week, the Air Force met with city officials to discuss a proposal to expand the airspace in southeastern New Mexico which could cover much of Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad. 

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Local business owners who did not attend the meeting said they feel the public is being kept in the dark.

The Air Force is still working on a draft. Kyle Armstrong, a member of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation, said the Air Force is considering two alternate plans. One is to expand Military Operations Area or adding a second MOA in southeast New Mexico, expanding on existing MOA's.

On a paper Armstrong sent to Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, Exhibit A shows the current MOA around Roswell. Exhibit B shows how the expansion will cover most of the airspace around Artesia and Carlsbad. Roswell will be almost completely encircled.

Armstrong said the airspace changes could impact the local economy by hurting commercial air services.

"Planes that are coming in from Dallas -- American Airlines are coming in from Dallas or elsewhere -- will have to start descending earlier," he said. "That means additional cost. It could mean that we’re limited on the number of flights that we have."

Emergency evacuations could be delayed by the expansion. Most importantly, Armstrong said the public's concerns are being unheard.

"Local businesses, economic development groups weren’t permitted to be a part of that meeting," Armstrong said. "(They) weren't told when or where it would even be."

Armstrong has reached out to the lieutenant governor with a letter expressing appreciation for our armed services but also requesting a reasonable amount of civilian airspace to grow the local economy. Armstrong is unsure when the Air Force will meet with the public.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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