Clovis Regional Airport
The Clovis Regional Airport is a commercial airport serving Clovis, Portales, and Cannon Air Force Base, as well as Curry and Roosevelt Counties in eastern New Mexico. The facility opened in 1958 as the Clovis Municipal Airport and was renamed to the Clovis Regional Airport in 2021 when it was upgraded to FAA Part 121 status allowing for TSA security and the handling of commercial aircraft with more than 30 seats. The terminal building was renovated in 1999 and one of the two runways was lengthened by 1000 feet in 2012 to accommodate jet traffic. Clovis is currently served by one air carrier providing daily regional jet flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver. This service is subsidized through the Essential Air Service program provided by the federal government.
Historical commercial airline service:
Clovis was first served through an airfield west of the city at the train station in Portair, New Mexico along the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The airstrip and a large hanger were built by Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) in 1929. TAT had chosen Clovis to be a stop on the nation’s first transcontinental route between Los Angeles and New York. The carrier began service on July 8, 1929 using Ford tri-Motor aircraft on a route from Los Angeles to Clovis with stops at Kingman and Winslow, Arizona as well as Albuquerque. At Clovis passengers would then transfer to an overnight train on the Santa Fe Railway to Waynoka, Oklahoma then proceed onto Columbus, Ohio by another TAT aircraft the next day. The journey to New York then continued on another overnight train. A reciprocal service was offered for westbound passengers. Navigational aids and lighting for aircraft to fly at night had not yet been installed. After the Great Depression gripped the United States in 1930, TAT merged with Western Air Express, a competing carrier, and the coast-to-coast route was redirected to proceed from Albuquerque to Amarillo, Texas, ending the service to Clovis.
Pioneer Air Lines reinstated airline service to Clovis on May 1, 1948 using a facility at the Clovis Army Airfield (now Cannon Air Force Base). Clovis was served on a route from Albuquerque to Dallas that included stops at Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Tucumcari, New Mexico as well as at Lubbock, Abilene, Mineral Wells and Fort Worth, Texas. A second route between Amarillo and El Paso, Texas started one month later which included stops in Clovis, Roswell, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. This route was discontinued in 1950 and the stops at Las Vegas, Tucumcari and Mineral Wells on the route to Dallas were also discontinued. During the time when both routes crossed at Clovis, flights were timed to be on the ground simultaneously which allowed passengers to connect between them. Pioneer began with Douglas DC-3 aircraft and upgraded to Martin 202’s in 1952 but service reverted back to DC-3’s the following year. Pioneer merged into Continental Airlines in 1955.
Continental Airlines continued serving the same route between Albuquerque and Dallas using Douglas DC-3 aircraft but soon upgraded their service with larger Convair 340’s in 1958 and even a larger four-engine Vickers Viscount in 1959. Service was transferred from the original airfield at Cannon Air Force Base to the new Clovis Municipal Airport in 1958. All flights on Continental ended on October 14, 1963 when the cities’ airline service was transferred to Trans-Texas Airways. Operations were moved from the original airfield at Cannon Air Force Base to the new Clovis Municipal Airport in 1958. All flights on Continental ended on October 14, 1963 when service was transferred to Trans-Texas Airways.
Trans-Texas Airways (TTA) also began service on the same routes to Albuquerque and Dallas with some flights stopping at Big Spring and Brownwood, Texas. DC-3 aircraft were first used but quickly upgraded to Convair-240 and later to Convair-600 turboprops by the mid-1960’s. TTA changed its name to Texas International Airlines in 1969 and the stop in Santa Fe ended in 1972 which made for nonstop service between Clovis and Albuquerque. In 1977 Texas International tried becoming an all-jet airline and upgraded flights at Clovis to Douglas DC-9 jets however the service reverted back to Convair-600’s the following year. Eastbound flights to Lubbock and Dallas/Fort Worth had also ended with only service to Albuquerque remaining. During the period of jet service, all operations were again flown through Cannon Air Force Base as a longer runway was needed. Texas International ended all service on January 1, 1979 and a local commuter, Crown Airlines, assumed all air service at Clovis.
As Texas International was designated as a local service carrier by the federal government and the airline was serving Clovis at the time of airline deregulation in 1978, Clovis became eligible for guaranteed Essential Air Service (EAS) with government subsidy.
Trans Central Airlines briefly served Clovis in 1970 with an Amarillo – Clovis – Roswell – El Paso route using Cessna 402 commuter aircraft.
Crown Airlines, based in Clovis, began commuter airline flights from Clovis to Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas on June 13, 1977 after Texas International had discontinued their service to Lubbock and Dallas. Crown flew Cessna 402 and Piper Navajo aircraft. Three weeks after service began, the flights to Amarillo were discontinued and new service to Albuquerque began, supplementing Texas International. Crown had the only service to Clovis for a period in 1979 after Texas International left the city. All service ended on January 17, 1980 when Crown ceased operating.
Air Midwest began operations at Clovis on March 1, 1979 with flights to Albuquerque under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program using Swearingen Metroliner aircraft. Service was briefly suspended that summer but reinstated in the fall of 1979. Flights to Amarillo were later added that continued through to Wichita. For a brief time in 1983 a direct flight to Denver was added in support of a marketing agreement with Frontier Airlines. Air Midwest ended all Clovis service on January 31, 1986.
JetAire made a very brief appearance at Clovis operating from April 1-16, 1985 on an Albuquerque-Lubbock-Clovis-Albuquerque route. The carrier used a Handley-Page Jetstream aircraft.
Mesa Airlines began flying from Clovis to Albuquerque on July 22, 1985 and became the designated EAS carrier at the city upon the departure of Air Midwest about six months later. Mesa initially operated Beechcraft 99 aircraft but soon upgraded to Beech 1300’s and Beech 1900’s. Service was operated for nearly 20 years to Albuquerque but not anywhere east of Clovis. Mesa ended their flights on April 2, 2005 when service was transferred to Great Lakes Airlines.
Great Lakes Airlines then became the EAS provider at Clovis beginning on April 3, 2005 with flights to Albuquerque using Beech 1900 aircraft. A flight to Amarillo with continuing service to Denver began a few months later but ended by mid-2007. New service to Santa Fe, continuing to Denver, was started on December 1, 2012 at which time the flights to Albuquerque had ended. Within a couple months the stop at Santa Fe ended and a new stop at Pueblo, Colorado or Liberal, Kansas began on the Denver flights. All service abruptly ended on January 31, 2014 leaving Clovis temporarily with no commercial air service. Great Lakes also had a code-share agreement with Frontier Airlines when passengers connected with Frontier flights at Denver or Albuquerque.
Boutique Air was then awarded the EAS contract to serve Clovis and began operations on July 15, 2014 with three daily nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth. This was the first route awarded to Boutique with EAS subsidies. The carrier began using Pilatus PC-12 aircraft and upgraded to Beechcraft 350 King Airs in mid-2018. Boutique began a code-share agreement with United Airlines in 2018 and by early 2019 was also carrying United flight numbers on its Clovis-DFW flights. All service ended on April 30, 2020 when the EAS contract was awarded to Denver Air Connection.
Key Lime Air/Denver Air Connection received the EAS award for Clovis and began service on May 1, 2020 with two daily nonstop flights to Denver using 30-seat Fairchild Dornier 328Jets. This was the first regional jet service for Clovis and the first nonstop flights to Denver. Denver Air Connection (DAC) also has a code-share agreement with United Airlines. In 2021 the Clovis airport was upgraded to Part 121 and a security checkpoint was installed and staffed by the TSA. DAC flights were upgraded to 50-seat Embraer 145 regional jets beginning August 5, 2021. On November 1, 2021, DAC added new service from Clovis to Dallas/Ft. Worth with one daily flight and reduced service to Denver to one daily flight. This was at the request of the city of Clovis as the city had preferred service to DFW over Denver but was issued Denver service by the Essential Air Service committee.
Clovis is also served by airfreight feeder company South Aero which provides a daily flight to Albuquerque on behalf of UPS. South Aero uses Cessna 404 Titan and Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft. Ameriflight formerly provided the feeder service for UPS at Clovis until 2016.