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New Mexico

Las Cruces airport sees flight uptick from Branson space voyage

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The Las Cruces International Airport is reaping the rewards of Sir Richard Branson’s endeavor to space. 

They have already had several private planes land at the airport and are expecting another 6 to 10 before takeoff on Sunday.

Other airports in the area aren’t seeing the same uptick in air traffic. The Las Cruces International Airport administrator says, in part, it's because they're the closest to Spaceport America. 

"With El Paso they have a much busier airport than we do, plus we're also much closer to Spaceport America so it really makes an ideal location for us to be able to host folks coming in for a space flight,” Las Cruces International Airport Administrator Andy Hume said. 

Once the planes land at the Las Cruces International Airport, passengers then have to get to Spaceport America which is just over an hour-long drive. 

Part of that takes place on a 24-mile road that was completed in 2018 purely to increase access and safety to the spaceport.

Chris Lopez, the director of site operations at the New Mexico Spaceport Authority told ABC-7 the road cost more than $12 million, which was paid for by Spaceport America funding. 

Lopez also said it reduces travel from Las Cruces by about 20-30 minutes, and with all the recent storms it would have been extremely unsafe to access the spaceport if it weren't for this road.

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Rachel Phillips

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