American Eagle adds route to Santa Fe Daily round trip from D/FW to begin in December

American Eagle Airlines Inc. will begin flying in December to Santa Fe, the New Mexico capital that traditionally has had little commercial airline service.

American Eagle officials said Monday that the carrier, American Airlines Inc.'s regional affiliate, will make a daily midday round trip beginning Dec. 13 between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Santa Fe.

"This is very good news for Santa Fe residents, business people and visitors," Santa Fe Mayor David Coss said in American Eagle's announcement.

"Greater travel opportunities through this American Airlines/American Eagle service will enhance the city's economic development plan and give added travel options to Santa Feans," Mr. Coss said.

In June, the Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the airport to a Class 1 facility, allowing the airport to handle larger aircraft than the 30-passenger limit then in place. While the Santa Fe airport has three runways, including one more than 8,000 feet long, its tower has no radar guidance, although a radar project has been funded. The tower, operated by a private company under FAA contract, is closed from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

American Eagle plans to use 44-seat Embraer twin-engine regional jets on its service from D/FW to Santa Fe, as well as on a Los Angeles-Santa Fe flight that begins Dec. 14. The Los Angeles-Santa Fe flight will operate only on Fridays and Sundays.

The lowest fare on the new American Eagle service will be $240, according to American's Web site. That compares with fares of about $200 to $210 currently available from D/FW to Albuquerque on American or Southwest Airlines Co., before taxes and fees.

Currently, Santa Fe has commercial service to only two airports, with small airlines offering turboprop service.

Great Lakes Airlines, owned by Great Lakes Aviation Ltd., offers three daily round trips between Santa Fe Municipal Airport and Denver, using 19-seat, twin-engine turboprop airplanes. Pacific Wings Airlines, under the name New Mexico Airlines, started two daily round trips between Santa Fe and Albuquerque on July 1, using nine-seat, single-engine turboprop airplanes.

On Sept. 5, American Eagle will launch jet service to another New Mexico city, Roswell, from D/FW Airport.