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Mayor Tim Keller Renews Partnership Between The Sunport and Kirkland Air Force Base

Runway agreement revised after more than 50 years.

November 13, 2018

The United States Air Force has had a presence in Albuquerque for nearly 80 years and today, Mayor Tim Keller is highlighting the importance of the City’s relationship with Kirtland Air Force Base.

“The military has played an important and longstanding role in Albuquerque’s history and economy,” said Mayor Keller. “The Army Air Corps opened at the Albuquerque Airport in 1939, before construction of the airport was even complete, as a major hub for bomber pilot training in preparation for our entry into WWII.”

Since that time, the City of Albuquerque and the Air Force have shared the runways. Although the City and KAFB have had an agreement in place for the mixed use of the runways for more than 50 years, that agreement was recently revised and will soon be renewed.

“When the United States entered WWII, the federal government took over the airfield to support the war effort,” said Peter Pierotti, Assistant City Attorney, Aviation. “When the airfield was turned back over to the City in 1962, we entered into our first agreement with the Air Force. That agreement was recently amended, and in 2022 a new joint use agreement will be negotiated.” 

The military presence in Albuquerque has brought many opportunities to the community for decades. In addition to the partnership with the airport, KAFB is home to numerous mission partners from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratory, Air Force Research Laboratory, and many others.

“We have a great relationship with our neighbors at Kirtland Air Force Base,” said Mayor Keller. “The Air Force is a major economic driver to our city and state, and we are happy for the opportunities to work so closely with them on many efforts. The Airmen and their families that call Albuquerque home, for a short time or for a lifetime, are an integral part of our community.”

In addition to this agreement, the City and the Air Force work hand-in-hand on many efforts, including airport rescue response provided by the KAFB Fire Department