Sunport launches business portal amid terminal renovation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Renovations are underway at the Albuquerque International Sunport. Temporary walls are blocking demolitions happening inside businesses that used to be in front of the TSA checkpoint, and those lines of tape are marking where more walls will go up in the coming months.

Sunport officials say the massive terminal renovation will reimagine the concession and retail experience inside New Mexico’s largest airport. But just building new areas for businesses is the first step, they still have to fill those spaces, and officials say they want local businesses in the mix.

“I think what we can have, and what we plan to have is a world-class airport,” said Manny Manriques, ABQ Sunport’s innovation and commercial development director. 

A massive $85 million renovation project inside the Sunport is already off the ground. Now, airport leaders are setting their sights on what the final destination will look and feel like.

“Modernization is not about changing the character. It’s really about thinking through how the passenger experiences the Sunport, step by step,” said Manriquez. 

Officials say there’s a big focus on reimagining the concession and retail experience, and that includes bringing in new, local businesses.

“We want to bring in the flavors of New Mexico, those local flavors and represent the local business community in that way,” Manriquez said. 

The Sunport recently launched a website to make the process a little easier. It’s a one-stop shop for everything businesses need to know about operating at the Sunport, and what it’ll take to secure a spot inside the renovated terminal.

“We want to provide that kind of support, because operating in an airport is different than operating out in the city. You know, there’s, there are different requirements for logistics and security and so forth,” said Manriquez. 

The website also includes information on the Department of Transportation’s “Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise” program, which is designed to level the playing field for smaller businesses.  

“That program will help us to really help shape and define the sense of place that we take so much pride in,” said Manriquez. 

The official bidding process is expected to start early next year, and Sunport leaders say the full renovation could be done by the end of 2024.

Officials are hosting a webinar this Friday morning to talk about the Disadvantaged Enterprise Program.