The federal government has awarded the city about $416,000 in federal funds to design a 2,200-foot extension to the runway at the Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport, a move the mayor hopes will bring in larger air tanker planes and improve air service.
“It was identified in the 1992 master plan as something that needed to be done, to bring the runway out to 9,000 feet to accommodate new-age aircraft,” said Mayor Susie Galea. “Alamogordo now clearly needs the lengthening. It will improve the gateway to our city as we make room for regional jet service and larger U.S. Forest Service aerial firefighting planes.”
Galea said the city applied for about $580,000, but was not awarded the full amount. It will have to match a portion of the grant, as will the state of New Mexico.
The Alamogordo City Commission on Tuesday approved the application to the Federal Aviation Administration, the total cost of the engineering project being $646,500, according to city records.
In July, the city applied for another federal grant worth about $450,000 to work on bringing an air carrier to the city.
The city, should it be approved, would get $450,000, which it would match with another $450,000 for a total of $900,000. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Galeasaid the city has not been informed of the outcome of the air service grant application.
Alamogordo’s airport lost essential air service, also administered by the DOT, last year and the airport’s only passenger airline, New Mexico Airlines, pulled up stakes and moved out.
According to city records, officials are in “active discussions” with an airline to bring passenger service back to the city.