SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson announced that direct passenger air service between Albuquerque and Chihuahua City, Chihuahua will commence in the next 60 days, under terms of an intergovernmental agreement signed today. Aeromexico, which has worked closely with the governmental entities, will provide the service.

The signing took place at a breakfast meeting at the Governor’s Mansion, attended by Governor Richardson, Chihuahua Governor Jose Reyes Baeza, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, Chihuahua Economic Development Director Alejandro Cano, New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Katherine Miller, Economic Development Secretary Fred Mondragon, and other New Mexico and Chihuahua officials.

“This direct air link will serve to expand and strengthen the business and cultural ties between the border states of New Mexico and Chihuahua,” said Governor Richardson. “I thank Governor Baeza and Mayor Chavez for their efforts in helping accomplish this.”

The service will begin with three operations a week with a 50-seat regional aircraft. The aircraft will go from Chihuahua to Albuquerque and back each operational day. Aeromexico has connecting flights in Chihuahua City to additional destinations in Mexico, including Mexico City.

“I am very pleased and looking forward to the flights to commence,” Mayor Chavez said. “This gives New Mexicans the opportunity to fly directly to Chihuahua. Great news for tourism.”

The intergovernmental agreement signed Saturday binds the New Mexico Economic Development Department and the state Department of Finance and Administration to transfer $340,000 to the city of Albuquerque to help it defray operating, capital and promotional costs attendant to the start-up phase of the new service. The City of Albuquerque, in turn, is finalizing an agreement with Aeromexico to complete the details of this cooperative venture.

“Chihuahua City is a tourist and business destination for New Mexicans that will be a fast,
convenient and inexpensive jump away with this direct service,” Governor Richardson said. “No
longer will it cost an arm and a leg and require flight changes and intermediate stops for our
citizens to visit our neighbor to the south.”

Chihuahua City is historically bound to New Mexico, as it was the jumping off point for the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the trade and commerce route into New Mexico from Mexico, for more than 250 years under the Spanish Empire of New Spain.

New Mexico travelers to Chihuahua City will be able to visit points of interest in the city, as well as to tour the nearby Copper Canyon, believed by many to be even more spectacular than Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Chihuahua will also be a crucial link between Albuquerque and the major Mexican industrial centers of Monterrey and Mexico City as well as Albuquerque's other sister city, Guadalajara.

Regularly scheduled direct air service from New Mexico into Mexico has long been a goal of business and tourism officials in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.