Texans will once again have direct access to Taos for the ski season.
Following a successful first round of seasonal service last winter and spring, Taos Air will relaunch flights to Austin and Dallas on Dec. 19, bringing winter sports enthusiasts to Taos Ski Valley, which owns the one-aircraft airline.
The service will link Taos Regional Airport with Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Dallas Love Field — the smaller Dallas airport used by Southwest Airlines. Flights will be offered Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 29, with some additional service on holiday weekends, according to Taos Ski Valley and Taos Air.
Austin flights from Taos will depart at 4:30 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays and 7:10 p.m. Sundays. Departures to Dallas will be at 11 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, the Taos Air website says.
One-way fares range from $160 to $270, the Taos Air website says, while round-trip flights from Dallas and Austin between the first dates of service, Dec. 19-22, are $490. That compares with round-trip flights between Dallas and Albuquerque for those dates starting at $291, and between Dallas and Santa Fe at $347. Round trips between Austin and Albuquerque start at $341; trips between Austin and Santa Fe are $339.
Taos Air flies a 30-seat Dornier 328 passenger jet operated by Advanced Air LLC, a Hawthorne, Calif., charter operator.
Southwest Planning and Marketing of Santa Fe determined the first season of Taos Air service resulted in an economic impact exceeding $2 million for the city of Taos, the Ski Valley, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Questa and Red River.
“We had more than 3,500 fliers December to March last year,” Taos Ski Valley CEO David Norden said in an email. “This shows that in its inaugural year, Taos Air proved to be an economic driver for not just the Taos area but the entire Enchanted Circle region.”
The winter season success of the flights prompted local government officials in Taos and nearby towns to pledge funding to help Taos Air service continue through the summer. But the initiative was canceled after Taos Air learned Advanced Air wasn’t able to arrange flights.
“It turned out that our operator couldn’t work out the service for the summer,” Chris Stagg, vice president of Taos Ski Valley, told The Taos News in June. “It had to do with availability of pilots and planes.”