Vacation travel at Albuquerque International Sunport is back to record levels. The airport has plans for the new year, including renovations to its food hall.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Official numbers are not yet available, but Albuquerque International Sunport officials said they estimate about 156,000 people used the airport over the holidays.
“It’s crazy. We’re seeing record numbers. You know, the best we’ve seen in years. Because not only are we back to pre-pandemic numbers, we’re back to even higher numbers than we were before.” Then,” said Leah Black, Sunport’s outreach and marketing manager.
These numbers are from December 20th to December 28th.
“It was very crowded with people waiting in line if you didn’t come early, but we’re trying to make it through,” Black said.
Lines began forming early, ahead of TSA’s 3:45 a.m. opening time.
Black said he would consider opening TSA earlier next year to support the line. They also hope to hire more TSA officers.
“One of the things we really want to do is add more staffing so that we can actually staff areas that have a lot of people in the early morning hours,” Black said.
Outside the airport, Sunport’s premium and basic parking lots were also full, but Black said more parking could be added in the future.
“The most important thing is to find a space nearby,” Black said.
Travelers have grown accustomed to the new TSA area, but 2024 will bring even more changes to the Sunport.
Crews are beginning the next phase of construction. The food hall will feature New Mexico favorites including Santa Fe Brewing Company, The Grove, Black Mesa Coffee Company and popular national chains with a local twist.
“This is our first new restaurant in partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings called Taos Peaks, where you can enjoy great Buffalo Wild Wings paired with local craft beer from New Mexico,” Black said.
Mr Black would like to remind the public that holiday travel is not over yet and people are still encouraged to arrive two hours early if flying. Once New Year’s Day passes, travel should calm down.