New Mexicon Halts More Airline Liquor Sales

State regulators sent letters to Frontier Airlines and Northwest Airlines to immediately stop sales on flights using New Mexico airports.


Feb. 3 -- The state on Friday ordered two more airlines to stop selling alcohol on flights using New Mexico airports because the carriers don't have state licenses.

Edward Lopez, superintendent of the Department of Regulation and Licensing, said his office sent letters to Frontier Airlines, headquartered in Denver, and Northwest Airlines, headquartered in Minneapolis and St.

Paul, Minn.

Joe Hodas, spokesman for Frontier, said the airline stopped selling liquor on its New Mexico flights Friday. Northwest spokesman Jeff French did not immediately return a phone call late Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, US Airways, which the state earlier this week ordered to stop selling alcoholic beverages on New

Mexico flights, applied Friday for a public-service liquor license.

He said the company stopped serving alcohol to passengers on New Mexico flights as of Jan. 30.

It usually takes three to five months for the state to issue a liquor license after receiving an application, Lopez said, but the state will try to expedite US Airways' application.

The state began reviewingairline liquor licenses after the Nov. 11 crash involving Dana Papst. Police say the 44-year-old Tesuque man was driving drunk on Interstate 25 near Santa Fe when he killed five members of a Las Vegas, N.M., family as well as himself.

Witnesses have said they saw US Airways personnel hours earlier serve Papst two individual- size bottles of whiskey when he was visibly intoxicated. After Papst deplaned at the Albuquerque International Sunport, investigators have said, he stopped at a Bernalillo convenience store and bought a six-pack of beer on his way to Santa Fe.

The state sent its cease-anddesist letter to US Airways after the state Department of Public Safety issued an admin-istrative citation to the airline for serving Papst while he was intoxicated, said Jon Goldstein, a spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson, in a statement Friday.

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