Roswell Air Center touts its ideal jet storage conditions - Albuquerque Journal

Roswell Air Center touts its ideal jet storage conditions

With the novel coronavirus wreaking havoc on commercial air travel, the Roswell International Air Center is looking to become a destination for airlines to park their largest planes.

The air center, in conjunction with the Roswell mayor’s office, sent out a letter encouraging airlines and other aviation companies to consider this site as a destination during the period of uncertainty. Mark Bleth, deputy director of the air center, said the facility’s uniquely large runways, abundance of concrete storage space, and semi-arid climate makes it an ideal fit for companies to park large jets like the Airbus A380 until demand for flights reverts to pre-virus levels.

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh added that keeping the aircraft in working order would require additional employees, which he said could help diversify the economy of the oil and gas-dependant region.

“If we can promote this and grow this, it gives us an additional area of commercial activity.” Kintigh said.

The coronavirus outbreak has hampered the commercial aviation industry, amid travel bans and fewer people flying. Bleth said the lack of demand has been particularly hard for airlines using A380s, the largest commercial aircraft in operation with between 470 and 700 seats.

Bleth added that he’s heard reports of the planes flying at around 35% capacity. “You’re just bleeding cash if you’re running at 35%,” he said.

Airbus announced last year that it would cease production of the A380 by 2021, but Bleth said the virus outbreak has airlines like Lufthansa and Emirates looking to ground some or all of their planes before then.

Air center director Scott Stark said Roswell has key advantages over competing facilities, with its semi-arid climate that helps prevent corrosion, and an abundance of concrete and asphalt where other air centers have to house the planes on dirt.

Perhaps most importantly, the air center’s massive runways, a holdover from its history as an airfield during World War II, give it the ability to handle large aircraft.

Roswell has a history of housing aircraft near their end of their useful lives. The city is home to a handful of companies that specialize in recycling and selling airplane components. One such company, General Airframe Support, operates in both Roswell and Marana, Arizona, but president Isaac Sheets said the New Mexico airport’s amenities give it a leg up.

“There’s not a better place to park your plane than Roswell,” Sheets said.

Stark said the airport has enough space to house around 20 A380 planes comfortably, along with other, smaller planes. To keep the planes in good working order, companies will have to contract with local companies or bring employees to Roswell. Kintigh said he’d like to see the aviation industry, emerge as a viable alternative during lean times on the oil patch.

“To me, this is critical that we understand this not just as a Roswell asset, but as a New Mexico asset,” Kintigh said.

Home » Business » Most Recent Biz News » Roswell Air Center touts its ideal jet storage conditions


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
St. Pius X chooses new leader
ABQnews Seeker
Mike Deely says he's a 'lifer ... Mike Deely says he's a 'lifer in Catholic education.' 'I grew up in it,' said Deely, who has recently been selected as head of ...
2
Water authority approves rate hike, budget
ABQnews Seeker
The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility ... The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority board unanimously approved a 5% rate hike Wednesday. Starting in August, typical residential customers will see an ...
3
Officials say woman set 12 fires in the bosque ...
ABQnews Seeker
Fire crews from several different agencies ... Fire crews from several different agencies jumped into action Wednesday morning after officials say a woman who appeared to be suffering from a mental ...
4
TOP OF MIND: Should Albuquerque Animal Welfare be authorized ...
ABQnews Seeker
Click here to tell us: ... Click here to tell us: Should Albuquerque Animal Welfare be authorized to charge a "surrender fee" of $20 to take in unwanted pets ...
5
Lawmaker accuses ABQ gas station of price gouging
ABQnews Seeker
Duke City residents have been feeling ... Duke City residents have been feeling the pain at the pump recently, but customers fueling up at one Albuquerque gas station are paying nearly ...
6
A third of US should be considering masks, officials ...
ABQnews Seeker
COVID-19 cases are increasing in the ... COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States -- and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in ...
7
Northern NM wildfire exceeds 300,000 acres
ABQnews Seeker
As national forests across northern New ... As national forests across northern New Mexico prepare to close to the public because of extreme fire danger, officials said Wednesday morning that the ...
8
Oil worker charged in killing of best friend
ABQnews Seeker
Man allegedly shot victim following a ... Man allegedly shot victim following a dispute over religion at a cookout
9
Brazos resident is charged in killing of neighbor
ABQnews Seeker
Suspect and victim have a history ... Suspect and victim have a history of prior dispute