The New Mexican reports that air travelers going to and leaving from Santa Fe will have new options starting soon. The popular tourist destination will soon have direct air service from LA and Dallas.

“American Eagle Airlines, a regional carrier, is scheduled to operate daily flights to and from American Airlines’ hub in Dallas and weekend flights to and from Los Angeles, a Monday announcement said.

The announcement came just over a month after federal regulators upgraded the Santa Fe airport’s certification to allow commercial planes carrying more than 30 passengers.

The new flights will use 44-seat Embraer ERJ-140 jets. Airport Manager Jim Montman anticipates the Brazilian manufacturer’s jets will be quieter or no noisier than planes now flying into the airport.

A city-funded study earlier this year found Los Angeles and Dallas were two of the most requested destinations for which businesses and government agencies wanted direct access from Santa Fe. Currently, air travelers must make the hourlong highway trip to Albuquerque to board scheduled direct service to Dallas or Los Angeles.

However, Santa Fe flights, in addition to offering potential time savings and convenience, could allow travelers to avoid some ground transportation costs, such as gasoline expenses.

For those leaving a vehicle at the airport, parking currently costs $3 a day at the Santa Fe Airport, according to the airport’s Web site, which is cheaper than daily rates charged at the Albuquerque airport. But if you have to park in Albuquerque, you should visit Airport Parking Reservations because you’ll find cheaper off-airport parking than at the airport.

“This is very good news for Santa Fe residents, business people and visitors,” Mayor David Coss said. “Greater travel opportunities through this American Airlines/American Eagle service will enhance the city’s economic development plan and give added travel options to Santa Feans.”

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