After record holiday travel, Sunport prepares to revamp food hall
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Although the official numbers aren’t in yet, Albuquerque International Sunport reps say they estimate about 156,000 people traveled through the airport over the holidays.
“It has been crazy, we have seen record numbers – the most we’ve seen since, you know, in years, because we’re back to not only pre-pandemic numbers, but numbers that are even higher than we even saw back then,” said Leah Black, Sunport outreach and marketing manager.
Those numbers are from between Dec. 20 and Dec. 28.
“If people weren’t showing up early, they showed up to lines and it was just a lot of congestion, but we are working through it,” Black said.
The lines started to form early, even before TSA’s 3:45 a.m. opening time.
Black says to help with the lines, they will consider opening TSA even earlier next year. They’re hoping for more TSA staff too.
“One of the things we really want to do is make sure we’re extra staffed up to really man those areas that are high volume in the early morning hours,” Black said.
Outside of the airport, the Sunport premium and basic lots were full too, but Black says more parking could be in the future.
“The biggest thing is figuring out a space in a nearby vicinity,” Black said.
While travelers get used to the new TSA area, 2024 will bring even more changes for the Sunport.
Crews are starting their next phase of construction – a food hall to be filled with New Mexico favorites, including Santa Fe Brewing Co., The Grove, Black Mesa Coffee Co., and a favorite national chain with a local twist.
“It’s a new restaurant, first of its kind, called Taos Peaks pairing up with Buffalo Wild Wings so you’ll get the amazing Buffalo Wild Wings but with local craft beer from New Mexico,” Black said.
Black wants to remind the public that holiday travel isn’t over, so it is still encouraged to continue arriving two hours early for flights. Travel should calm down after New Year’s Day.