Colonel Mario Campos (L), Flight Captain, contributed this report on the March 1, meeting last week of the General Nichol’s El Paso Flight 24 of the Daedalian Society.
The 24th Flight received an excellent briefing from one of its own. Flight Member Bill Provance, a former USAF C-130 Pilot and current Manager of the Santa Teresa, NM International Jetport gave us an update on the Airport’s current status and on its fast-developing future.
Currently a General Aviation Airport, yet with a runway over 9500 feet in length and 100 feet wide, Bill began by saying that an airport needs three things to make it grow: 1) People, 2) Infrastructure, and 3) Transportation. Over the previous 10 years, it was recognized that the Airport had the potential to become a major cargo facility and now it’s moving in that direction because all three of those factors now exist:
- The people providing the assistance are institutions like the University of El Paso (UTEP), New Mexico State University, and Dona Ana County.
- The infrastructure is aided by El Paso Electric and the city of Las Cruces.
- Transportation is aided by easy access to I-10, a major rail hub adjacent to the airport, and the proximity to the Mexican Border. Santa Teresa Jetport is also home to the renowned War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM).
With all these pieces in place, a recent $20 Million funding bill approved by the state of New Mexico along with a $72 Million Aviation Investment from Burrell Aviation will make the dreams of making the Airport a cargo hub a reality.
Bill (R) showed the 24th Flight plans to increase the current runway 10/21 to 12,000 feet in length, and 150 feet in width, and to further increase the runway’s load capacity by 215K lbs. He showed on his aerial view displays where the new cargo aviation facilities would be located and where potential warehouse facilities for manufacturing could be placed. The runway project and initial buildings are scheduled to begin construction in December of 2023, with a projected completion date of June 2025. He also discussed future plans to construct a crosswind runway (03/21) that could handle traffic as large as the Boeing 747. Bill felt this could realistically all be accomplished within the next 10 years. When asked if these changes would add a control tower and controlled airspace, he replied that existing and projected operations probably wouldn’t make these changes happen immediately but, “things could change.”
Bill’s concise presentation excited members of the flight as many of them had either flown privately from Santa Teresa or had worked at, or visited the War Eagles Air Museum. Flight Members agreed that the potential of Santa Teresa to become a cargo facility had always been there given the facilities that had already grown so rapidly up around it.
Mr. Provance also pointed out that the FASF’s own long-time member, Trustee, and now Advisor, John Orton,* continues to head up the Jetport’s always-busy Advisory Board. * (3rd down on Advisor’s Page.)
Wow, how exciting. Might even stimulate future infrastructure improvements and commercial developments along Hwy 9 from Santa Teresa to Columbus to below Lordsburg in coming decades.
Hadn’t thought about that, but no doubt it could have that sort of effect. That kind of major money in the area is bound to have some side effects locally. Good thought . . . time will tell. Thanks for the comment. Feel free to leave your ideas, thoughts or input at any time!