AASF has asked the candidates in the Santa Fe mayoral election of March 2018 to answer a short list of questions. Each candidate's answers will be posted in this space.
Here are the answers of Joseph M. Maestas
Aviation Association of Santa Fe
Joseph M. Maestas, City Councilor and Candidate for Mayor
(February 23, 2018)
1) do you or your family members or associates use the Santa Fe Airport, and if
I use the airport for business and personal transportation. My employer
encourages business flights out of Santa Fe.
2) what is your impression of the airport, of its surroundings, of its manner of
operation ( both commercial and private)?
The airport has been neglected for far
too long. The infrastructure (runways, taxiways, etc.) and terminal are in disrepair and
undersized. The decision-making through the airport director’s office is slow and
bureaucratic as opportunities for Federal Aviation Administration funding requires timely
city action. The gateway and entrance corridor is appalling with unsightly salvage yards
serving as a “first impression” of Santa Fe. The historic terminal building is charming
and emblematic of Santa Fe’s architectural style and must be preserved. The terminal
provides the character of the airport.
3) What do you think the future of the airport should be, for both residents and
visitors, and how should we try to achieve that future?
The future of the airport should be a regional airport serving the Northern New Mexico area and being the anchor of Santa Fe’s 21st century economy. The airport should aspire to attract a
majority of flights for locals and tourists. The expansion of the film and digital media
industry should be further facilitated through the resumption of flight service to and from
Los Angeles. With an updated master plan calling for a new airport terminal, regional
partner governments must work with the City of Santa Fe to identify a viable funding
source to build the new terminal. As Mayor, I would support a smaller terminal pending
planning, funding, and construction of a larger terminal. The future of the airport also
depends on the establishment of a direct connection to NM 599 via Jaguar Drive. As
Mayor, I will focus on the resolution of the development plan for that west leg of Jaguar
Drive to establish that connection. I would also work with the surrounding residents to
ensure that noise levels are not increased and that existing noise levels be mitigated as
the airport is expanded. I would re-visit the lease of the National Guard as much of the
noise is generated by them at the northern end of the airport.
4) What do you think are the chief difficulties in reaching the goals of question
The chief difficulties in building out the master plan is funding. With an estimated
price tag of $40M+ for the new terminal, securing funding will be a challenge and
require some type of bond funding versus minimal, annual Federal and State capital
outlay. Another challenge is the need for continued flight subsidies in key markets until
the demand is so high that such subsidies will no longer be necessary. Another chief
challenge is balancing airport growth and usage while minimizing impacts to the
surrounding area as well as established flight paths. As a city councilor, I amended the
master plan to ensure that solar power will be used to defray energy costs and ensure
that future airport facilities are models for sustainability.
5) What role do you think the mayor and city council of Santa Fe should play in
determining the future of our airport, and what changes, if any, from current
policy would you favor?
The Governing Body (GB) plays a central role in determining
the future of our airport. Recent actions that I participated in as a city councilor are:
development and approval of the airport master plan; re-naming of the airport as the
Santa Fe Regional Airport, developing and funding the Northern NM Air Alliance to help
subsidize the key flights in and out of Santa Fe; making the airport our #1 State capital
outlay priority for three consecutive years and securing State capital outlay funds; and
approving unprecedented levels of FAA funding for runway and taxiway repair are clear
examples of the direct role the GB plays in developing our airport.
As Mayor, I favor giving the airport director full autonomy to manage the airport
operations the includes the timely review and approval of FAA grant funding. This would
entail having the airport director report to the Airport Advisory Board instead of the city
manager. I would also call for review of the National Guard lease to ensure it’s in
compliance with city policies and goals such as facility sustainability, noise mitigation,
etc. The future looks bright for Santa Fe with our airport playing a vital role in our
Here are the answers of Kate Noble
February 26, 2018
1) Do you or your family members or associates use the Santa Fe Airport, and if so how?
We fly out of the Santa Fe airport whenever possible. It is wonderfully convenient and pleasant to do so.
We have used the parking during trips, and on occasion, I have attended events and enjoyed meals at the
2) What is your impression of the airport, of its surroundings, of its manner of operations ( both
commercial and private)?
I love the Santa Fe Airport. It is charming and incredibly pleasant. I have found the operations for
commercial flights to be remarkably easy and smooth. In talking with pilots and others about private
operations, I understand that things work very well for them and that the services and facilities are well-
regarded at the airport.
3) What do you think the future of the airport should be, for both residents and visitors, and how
should we try to achieve that future?
We should look at our airport as a hub of transit for the modern worker and think about the airport as the
new center of transit-oriented development. We should always work to improve the passenger experience
at the airport, including baggage handling and the waiting area beyond security.
4) What do you think are the chief difficulties in reaching the goals of question (3)?
Given the volatility of the airline industry, and the many global factors in an airlines’ business model,
Santa Fe’s ability to attract and retain commercial carriers may remain uncertain. We should continue to
analyze and understand patterns of use and what makes for successful routes. Additionally, private
business and general aviation should be pursued and expanded where possible.
5) What role do you think the mayor and city council of Santa Fe should play in determining the
future of our airport, and what changes, if any, from current policy would you favor?
We need to make sure that all users of the airport are well-served and that both commercial and private
business remain valued customers for our airport. The mayor and city council can also look to maximize
the use of the airport property, and potentially add value by locating new businesses on the property.
Ultimately, the role of the Governing Body is to integrate the airport into the Santa Fe community and to
unlock its potential in our economy. Thinking about it as a transit hub for the modern worker is a strong
guiding principle for this work, as is weaving the airport into the fabric of Santa Fe and the
planning for our community’s future, as a whole.