Santa Fe officials want daily flights to LA amid film boom

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Economic development officials are seeking the return of daily flights between Santa Fe and Los Angeles to support the ongoing growth of film production in New Mexico's capital city.

Officials said such flights would have a significant impact on the economy of northern New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

American Airlines is set to temporarily restore weekly direct flights to Santa Fe Regional Airport. The flights beginning April 11 are currently scheduled on Saturdays only, meaning round-trip passengers would have to stay a week if they wanted a nonstop flight. The airline plans to maintain the Saturday schedule through Oct. 24.

It’s uncertain if the airline will continue the nonstop flights beyond that date.

“We’re always evaluating our network based on supply and demand, and look forward to starting this new service,” American Airlines spokeswoman Nichelle Tait said.

Airport manager Mark Baca said the Saturday flights will serve as an experiment as American considers more frequent trips in the future.

“It’s a good thing we’re getting this flight to test the waters and see what kind of interest we can get,” he said.

The Santa Fe airport already has nonstop flights to Dallas, Denver and Phoenix.

Santa Fe was recently listed as the third-best small town on MovieMaker’s annual roll of best places to live and work as a movie maker. An open casting call for the Netflix production of “The Harder They Fall” was held Thursday at the Hotel Santa Fe & Spa.

Albuquerque, which already has daily non-stop flights to Los Angeles, was ranked No. 1 on the MovieMaker list for big cities for the second year in a row.

Jennifer LaBar-Tapia, film liaison at the Santa Fe Film Office, said the weekly flights will make accessing Santa Fe a little bit easier, but she’d like to see more frequent flights.

She said a lot of the creative movie types who come from Los Angeles like to go home for the weekend. “They have their families, or they like to bring their families out here while they’re shooting," she said.

Between 2009 and 2015, American Airlines offered daily direct flights from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, and at one point, there were two flights a day. Baca said the airline canceled the daily flights due to low ridership.