Cavern City Air Terminal saw more passenger traffic in 2021

Air traffic from Cavern City Air Terminal in Carlsbad to Albuquerque and Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) remained stable in the final two months of 2021, according to data from the City of Carlsbad and the Carlsbad Department of Development (CDOD).

CDOD Executive Director John Waters said passenger traffic from Carlsbad increased by 29% from November 2018 to November 2021 and 40% from December 2018 to December 2021.

Water said 1,040 passengers were registered in November 2021 and 1,072 in December 2021.

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“If you go back to 2018, you look at the same numbers in the month of November, we had 808 and we had 768 in the month of December,” he said.

Brian Kondrad, Boutique Air’s vice president of operations, said vacation travel out of Carlsbad “boomed” before the COVID-19 Omicron variant worried air travelers in January.

Boutique Air began operating air services at the Cavern City Air Terminal in 2015 through an Essential Air Service (EAS) agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), read data from the City of Carlsbad.

The inside of a Boutique Air plane.

The Airline Deregulation Act (ADA), passed in 1978, gave airlines almost complete freedom as to which markets to serve domestically and what rates to charge for service, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) website.

“The EAS program is designed to ensure that small communities served by certified airlines before airline deregulation maintain a minimum level of scheduled air services,” the website said.

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