Sunport launches survey about traveling during pandemic

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a little more than two weeks since the state lifted the mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling into New Mexico and the Sunport said it is just starting to see its impact.

A spokesperson said it’s too early to see how much of an impact lifting the quarantine requirement will have, but said it is already seeing a slight uptick in travelers the past two weeks. The Sunport now has an online survey to gauge the future of travel.

“The biggest goal is to get a pulse on how New Mexicans feel about travel,” Jonathon Small, a spokerson for the Sunport, said. The survey asks a number of questions including if respondends feel comfortable traveling, plan to travel in the next six months, and what COVID-19 safety protocols matter most to them.

“We’ll take some time to assess the data, look for trends, and then use the data to help make informed decisions moving forward,” Small said. People travleing through the Sunport on Friday evening said vaccines and people complying with mask-wearing protocols make them feel safer to travel during the pandemic.

“I feel like it’s safer now. But in the beginning, I wouldn’t have traveled. I think the first time I got in a plane was in October of last year and I just kind of avoided it all together,” Claire Boudreaux, who was flying into Albuquerque, said. But there are also some unwelcome changes when flying recently.

“They’re starting to pack people into planes again and you’re kind of like a sardine. I don’t necessarily love that part. I think that they did a really good job in the beginning of you know, leaving open seats,” Lindsey Howll, who was flying out of Albuquerque said.

“I noticed Delta blocks out seats. So, I purposely pick Delta. They block out seats. I feel safe,” Boudreaux said. “I’ll feel differently when we start filling up the whole airplane again.”

While the Sunport waits to get more feedback from passengers, it said is seeing a slight uptick in travelers. According to Small, the last seven-day average showed about 4,200 coming through the Sunport each day. He said that is down about 67% from the same week last year. It’s a step up from January numbers.

“For context, in January, our numbers show we were down about 71.1%. So, we are seeing some gradual increases just recently,” Small said. So far, Small said several hundred people ahve responded to the Sunport’s survey. It went live on February 13th and is set to close in early March. While the state is no longer requiring a 14-day quarantine for travelers into New Mexico, it is still strongly advising people coming into the state quarantine or get a COVID-19 test upon arrival.