Albuquerque International Sunport is a medium-sized airport located near Kirkland Air Force Base. Its International Air Transport Association airport code is ABQ.
Albuquerqe Airport History
Albuquerque residents can trace the history of the airport back to 1937 when a group of local residents led by New Mexico governor Clyde Tingley secured federal funding for a new municipal airport.
The airport’s original structures were completed in 1939. They included two paved runways, a large hangar, and a beautiful Pueblo Style terminal building that was designed by locally renowned architect Ernest Blumenthal.
The original terminal building was restored in the late 1980s after efforts to raze the building were stopped by concerned citizens. It now serves as the headquarters for the Transportation Security Administration. It was added to the roster of the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 in time for the airport’s 50th anniversary.
The current terminal was constructed in 1965. It features a Space Age design that was influenced by America’s quest to become the first country to land astronauts on the moon. It was designed by renowned architect William E. Burk. It is located about 100 yards east of the original terminal and about four blocks north of the airport’s United States Postal Service hub. The new terminal buliding was expanded in 1989 and 1996 to accommodate increases in passenger traffic. It features three tiers that are home to most of the airport’s most popular services. It also features a Pueblo-style mural that celebrates Albuquerque’s transportation history.
Sunport Terminal Info
The terminal’s first tier is located about 300 feet south of the airport’s main entrance. It is open 24 hours a day every day. It is home to the airport’s baggage claim service and ground transportation service center. It is also home to the airport’s customs center and welcome center.
The terminal’s second tier is open each day from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. It is located above the first tier near the airport’s rental car counter. It is home to the airport’s main ticketing center and currency exchange counter. It is also home to the airport’s main lounge, elevators and baby care center.
The terminal’s third tier is open every day from 5 a.m. to midnight. It is home to the airport’s security checkpoints and concourses. Passengers can simply their search for the airport’s security checkpoints by looking for red signs that dot the area near the checkpoints.
The airport’s car rental center and main parking structures are located north of the airport’s main terminal. They are open each day from 5:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Passengers may use a shuttle service offered by the Rio Grande Valley Transportation Authority to simplify their travels to and from these amenities.
Unique Airport Experience
Albuquerque International Sunport is well-known for many unique attractions that can make your next trip to the Land of Enchantment a more pleasant experience. For example, the airport is home to an extensive collection of American Indian artifacts. Passengers can view this collection when they visit the airport’s concourses, car rental center, and original terminal building.
Moreover, the airport proudly displays an original Curtiss biplane that was constructed in 1914. It is located in the airport’s main public walkway called the “Great Hall.” It is believed to be one of the few remaining examples that are still in its original condition. Passengers may view the biplane by looking above the Great Hall’s north window.
Finally, the airport is home to an impressive photograph display that celebrates Albuquerque’s transportation history. It is located south of the airport’s car rental center near the security checkpoints. Passengers may view the display anytime between 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Airlines Serving Albuquerque Airport
The earliest flights at Albuquerque International Sunport, or ABQ, depart around five in the morning and the latest take off around eleven at night. Still, the airport is open twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.
The airline that uses Albuquerque International Sunport the most is Southwest Airlines. Over half the passengers traveling in this airport fly with this airline. It offers nonstop flights to many destinations, including Denver, Houston, and Chicago.
The departure gates for Southwest Airlines are all located on Level 3 – A Concourse. In fact, this whole concourse is used only by Southwest Airlines.
All of the other airlines have their departure gates located on Level 3 – B Concourse. Commuter flights (such as New Mexico Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines) are operated out of the E Gate area.
United Airlines has flights to the following destinations: Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington-Dulles.
American Airlines has service to the larger airports of Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Delta Air Lines provides flights to Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The commuter airline New Mexico Airlines offers flights to the regional destinations of Alamogordo, Carlsbad, El Paso, and Hobbs, among others.
Great Lakes Airlines is another small airline: it has flights to Clovis and Silver City.
US Airways has a single flight out of Albuquerque – it goes to Phoenix.
Frontier is another airline that only offers one destination from Albuquerque: Denver.
Most of these destinations have connecting flights that go all over the country as well as abroad.
All in all, Albuquerque International Sunport offers nonstop flights to twenty-seven different destinations. The busiest routes out of Albuquerque International Sunport are Phoenix (which is serviced by Southwest Airlines and US Airways), Denver (Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Frontier), and Dallas/Fort Worth (American Airlines).