If you’ve got hiking, regional food, and/or amusing place names on your bucket list, I’ve got some good news for you: Las Cruces, New Mexico is restarting commercial flights after nearly 20 years!
Starting on Monday, 16 January, Las Cruces International Airport (LRU) will once again be hosting passenger service.
In large part due to the New Mexico Rural Service Enhancement Program ACT (NMRSEP) of 2021, passed by the state legislature to improve and/or add service to detached communities, that same year the Las Cruces City Council adopted a resolution seeking to gain commercial flights. The last time a commercial airline flew to Las Cruces was in July 2005, when the sole carrier, Westward Airways, stopped all operations.
Las Cruces International Airport also saw major renovations that were only completed last year; improvements include a larger apron — where the planes are parked, more hangars for public use, and a branch of the locally famous restaurant Jim Bob’s BBQ.
Hawthorne, California-based Advanced Air, which focuses on regional hops throughout California and the southwestern United States will be taking up the reins, offering twice daily flights to Albuquerque (ABQ) Monday through Friday:
AN601 Las Cruces (LRU) 08:40 Albuquerque (ABQ) 09:34
AN603 Las Cruces 18:00 Albuquerque 18:54
AN600 Albuquerque 07:15 Las Cruces 08:09
AN602 Albuquerque 16:35 Las Cruces 17:29
Note: the Advanced Air website is a little bizarre. I did a fare search for a roundtrip LRU-ABQ for the 16th, which showed AN601 for the departure, but then also showed AN600 for the return. Time travel is here ! … but this was the message that popped up after I tried to choose AN600:
“Return journey departure time must be after arrival of outbound journey.”
For sightseers, Las Cruces is home to an art museum, a nature and science museum, numerous historic houses, galleries, and pecan orchards. For day-trippers, the city a short drive from Hatch, home of the Hatch chili pepper, White Sands National Park, Gila National Forest, Lincoln National Forest, and El Paso.
Have you been to Las Cruces, or southeastern New Mexico?