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Sunport Increases Capacity for Balloon Fiesta with Partner Airlines, Completion of Major Contruction

Increased flight options, new and innovative art installations, and a $30 million terminal improvement construction project.

September 30, 2019

The Albuquerque International Sunport is putting its best foot forward for Balloon Fiesta, with increased flight options, new and innovative art installations, and a $30 million terminal improvement construction project.

Travelers looking for options to get to and from Albuquerque for the world’s largest hot air ballooning event have more choices thanks to added capacity from several airlines. Allegiant, American, Delta, jetBlue, and United have all added additional flights or seats over the course of the two weeks surrounding the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – an average overall increase in capacity of 33 percent.

“Air travel is a vital piece of the tourism industry, and we are excited to be working with our partner airlines to help bring more people to Albuquerque for one of the state’s largest annual events,” said Nyika Allen, Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. “Visitors to New Mexico spend an average of 84 percent more when flying, so providing options and convenience is an important step to bolstering that segment of the economy.”

In addition to this boost in passengers, the Sunport’s $30 million Terminal Improvement Project is more than 95 percent complete, with just a few punch-list items left to complete. The project, which has upgraded and modernized the entire pre-security terminal, began in 2017 and is the first major improvement to the terminal in nearly 30 years.

“The Sunport is the gateway to our City, and the completion of the terminal improvements are a big step toward making our airport one of the best in the nation,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Along with the lowrider exhibit and the newly-unveiled projection mapping installation, the Sunport is in a great position to welcome visitors from near and far for the upcoming Balloon Fiesta.”

As a warm welcome to New Mexico, the Sunport’s latest art exhibits – Lowriders and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico and The Enchanted Voyage: A Projection Mapping Experience – capture travelers as they arrive in Albuquerque for this year’s event; featuring local car culture in exquisite detail through custom-built vehicles and an immersive Balloon Fiesta-themed experience as they make their way through the terminal.

Travel for Balloon Fiesta is typically the second-busiest period for the Sunport, following the holiday season. This year, it is expecting to see anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 more travelers per day beginning Saturday and continuing on through mid-October. Travelers are encouraged to arrive to the airport two hours prior to flight departure.