Home Opinion Dear Editor More military airspace will deter airlines

More military airspace will deter airlines


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There has been much talk recently about the Air Force expanding military operating airspace over Carlsbad, Artesia and Roswell.

In a recent op-ed written by Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, he argues for the expansion of military airspace which he feels will provide job growth for New Mexico. While this may be true, what is not true is the idea that job growth is contingent upon this military airspace expanding. The additional F16s are slated to come to southern New Mexico whether or not this airspace expands. With additional F16s their support staff (i.e. new jobs) has to come no matter what.

New Mexico has been a long-time supporter of the military and will continue to do so. In fact, if military airspace is a representation of how much we support our military then we are at the front of the line. New Mexico already provides around 38,000 square miles of military airspace. That is about the size of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. combined!

Expanding military airspace over southern New Mexico could have a dramatic negative impact on commerce and the potential growth of the region. The proposed military airspace essentially puts up a barrier from Portales all the way to El Paso, Texas. This perceived “wall in the sky” would be a huge deterrent for Carlsbad, Artesia or Roswell to ever get additional flight service from major airlines.

There is also the element of safety. Southern New Mexico is a very remote region and has a substantial need for air ambulance services. Expanding this military airspace over Carlsbad and Artesia could add several minutes to flight time increasing the risk of death or long-term injury in emergency situations. Longer flight times could also impact commercial flights by adding to the cost of tickets for flights in and out of the area.

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What the military is not telling you is that they have other options, one of which is to expand their airspace over the western side of New Mexico where the impact on commerce and growth would be essentially unaffected.

Please join us in voicing your opinions. Contact Congressman Steve Pearce at 202-225-2365, Gov. Susana Martinez at 505-476-2200, and state Rep. James G. Townsend at 575-703-0153 or townsend@pvt.net.

Jim Ballard
J B Flight Services

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