Posts tagged ‘Colorado Flights Alliance’
Colorado Flights Alliance announces expansion, American Airlines to offer year-round service from Dallas
Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016 9:11 am
Colorado Flights Alliance on Wednesday announced another commercial air-service expansion to the Telluride region.
In late July, the alliance, a regional partnership that actively works to secure commercial air service to Telluride and Montrose airports, announced that commercial service would be returning to Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) following a two-year hiatus. Great Lakes Airlines will reinstate year-round commercial air service to the airport beginning Dec. 17 through a partnership with United Airlines to book flights between Denver International Airport (DEN) and Telluride.
The announcement on Wednesday concerned expanded passenger service to Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ). American Airlines will now operate year-round between Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport and Montrose instead of only during the summer and winter high seasons.
Matt Skinner, chief operating officer of Colorado Flights Alliance, said American Airlines is basically expanding its nonstop offerings to Montrose, “building up from seasonally to year-round.”
“We have been working with our partners at American on this for several years, and through strategic growth in flights, seats and passengers, we are thrilled to be able to offer our locals, visitors and businesses an added year-round option to the region,” Skinner said.
Already, United Airlines provides daily, year-round service between Denver and Montrose. Thus, the American Airlines’ service “will add a second daily, year-round option for MTJ travelers,” a flights alliance news release said.
American Airlines recently announced plans for a second daily flight from DFW to MTJ during the core of the winter tourism season and also said a larger aircraft would serve the route in the summer.
American’s service in April-May and October-November will consist of one flight daily on a 50- to 70-seat regional jet, Skinner said.
“The growth in our core tourism seasons, and the expansion and diversification of our regional economy, have allowed us to push through with added year-round demand for flights,” he said.
The new travel option broadens the accessibility of the region, providing a viable resource for business, pleasure and lifestyle, the news release said.
“The achievement of solidifying year-round service will be a boost to our economy, in particular serving our visitors and second-homeowners hailing from Texas, a key market for our community,” Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen said in a prepared statement.
As Colorado tourism leads the nation in growth, ease of travel is pertinent to capturing market share in the industry, the news release said. Access to the region provides a very marketable travel message.
“The addition of another year-round flight is an exceptional marketing opportunity for us and will absolutely contribute to the entire region’s continual economic growth — including tourism, business development and ancillary sectors to them both,” Michael Martelon, CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board, said in the news release.
Montrose Regional Airport figures prominently in the regional tourism market and the overall economy, the release said. Air service is a major factor for travelers around the country and the world when considering where to visit and spend tourism dollars.
“This is another step forward for the growth of the airport, which is the largest economic driver in the region,” Montrose County Commissioner David White said in the news release. “A year-round DFW flight is yet another example of the county’s successful partnership with the Colorado Flights Alliance and its diligent work.”
The year-round DFW flights are currently available for sale, with travel bookable through August 2017.
In another announcement in late June, the flights alliance said that Las Vegas-based Allegiant Airlines, a low-cost airline primarily serving leisure travelers, would start service between Denver and Montrose on Dec. 17. However, that service is winter-only, with flights running mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and is scheduled to end on March 25.
Skinner said at the time that Allegiant’s entry into the market was “a game-changer” in that no other low-cost carriers were offering direct service between Denver and the state’s ski resort areas.
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Telluride Daily Planet
Telluride airport continues efforts to bring back commercial flights
The Colorado Flights Alliance recently announced an increase in commercial flights to the region for summer 2015, including added service from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth in and out of Montrose. CFA is funded by the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village and the Telluride Ski Resort, among other organizations, and works to bring increased air service to the region.
“With summer demand continuing to increase at a record pace, we are thrilled to offer such a significant jump in air service for summer 2015,” CFA Chief Operating Officer Matt Skinner said in the announcement. “The new and increased hub markets, as well as a low-cost option, create fantastic ease of access for both our guests across the country and our regional residents.”
Allegiant will extend its twice-weekly flights between LAX and Montrose from winter into summer. United flights from Houston will ramp up from twice-weekly to daily for the height of the summer season. Additional flights from Chicago, Denver and Dallas are also part of the increase.
“The added flights will give us the opportunity to improve on the previous four consecutive record-breaking summers and benefit the overall economic performance of the destination,” Telluride Tourism Board CEO Michael Martelon said in the press release.
While these added flights will come in and out of the Montrose Regional Airport, both CFA and the Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) Board are working to bring commercial service back to Deep Creek Mesa.
“That’s absolutely one of our top priorities,” Skinner said. “We work closely with the Telluride Regional Airport Board trying to find commercial carriers, private ventures or some combination to bring commercial service back into Telluride.”
Current efforts center around TEX’s approach category, which must be upgraded according to Federal Aviation Administration standards to allow larger planes, like those currently employed by regional commercial air carriers, to fly in and out of the precariously placed airport off of Last Dollar Road.
“It’s difficult to even discuss commercial service until we have this Category C approach, and we’re in the middle of that process,” TEX Board Chairman Jon Dwight said.
Dwight added that he would know more about the progress toward obtaining the improved approach at the next board meeting in May, and estimated the process could be completed in nine months to a year. Dwight said the approach category is an instrumentation system that allows planes to fly into the airport under adverse weather conditions.
One potential point of confusion in the announcement, and in additional marketing materials from both CFA and the Telluride Tourism Board, are the references to the “Telluride/Montrose Regional Airport.”
“Telluride Doubles Down on Summer Destination Flights,” reads the title of CFA’s March 10 press release announcing the additional flights, which might lead some to believe that flights from Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles would be landing at TEX, a quick ride from Telluride. But a closer reading of the marketing materials reveals the flights are into MTJ, which both Montrose officials and the Federal Aviation Administration call the “Montrose Regional Airport,” about a 90-minute drive from Telluride. But Skinner said referring to the Montrose Regional Airport as the Telluride/Montrose Regional Airport is not new.
“It makes it easier for locals and guests to find all the options into the area, and it’s been like that for quite a while,” Skinner said.
According to Skinner, visitors to Telluride often don’t know to search for flights into Montrose, so calling the airport the Telluride/Montrose Airport helps clear up that confusion.
“They’ve been calling it that for a while,” Dwight, a representative for TEX, said.
Do the similar names cause confusion?
“Yes,” Dwight laughed.
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