United Airlines to add two more non-stop flights to Aspen
United Airlines is adding two more non-stop flights to Aspen this winter, helping alleviate the pending loss of Frontier Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which said they are pulling out of the closest airport to any North American ski resort.
A second non-stop flight to San Francisco and a fourth non-stop flight to Chicago have been added to the schedule, officials announced today, making for a total of 21 flights daily in and out of Aspen beginning Dec. 16.
“We’re really pleased to have our long-time partner United Airlines step up to make it easier for travelers to travel to and from Aspen and Snowmass,” Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Director of Aviation Jim Elwood said in a prepared statement.
Last month, Frontier announced it would be discontinuing service to Aspen beginning Oct. 1 after its new parent company, Republic Holdings Airways Inc., elected to phase out the Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane Frontier had used for its Lynx affiliate that served Aspen. Around the same time, Delta also confirmed it doesn't plan to return to Aspen this winter. Delta had provided flights from here to Atlanta and Salt Lake City, although it was limited to winters.
The loss of Frontier, which arrived in 2008, and Delta is widely expected to increase fares in and out of Aspen, and possibly the Eagle County Airport where a good chunk of Roaring Fork Valley travelers opt to fly out of when prices or circumstances dictate.
United's newest flight announcements should offset all the seats lost from the departure of Delta, according to a press release sent out by the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport and Stay Aspen Snowmass central reservations agency. The flights will not make up for the seats lost with Frontier's exit but the press release said there are now more seats scheduled to Aspen this winter on United alone than from all the airlines that flew here during the 2006-2007 season.
“The good news is we have plenty of winter seats available right now, and the key to obtaining the best fares and the greatest choice of flights into Aspen/Snowmass this winter will be to book early,” said Stay Aspen/Snowmass President Bill Tomcich, adding that holidays, the ESPN Winter X games, all Saturdays inbound and outbound, most Thursdays and Fridays inbound, and Sundays and Mondays outbound, should all be in high demand.
In addition to the four daily flights to Chicago and two to San Francisco, United is also scheduled to operate three daily non-stops from Los Angeles, and 12 daily trips between Aspen and Denver, As is its usual business practice, United will likely evaluate additional weekend frequencies and day-of-week schedules based on demand, officials said.
United Express will service the airport, just three miles outside of Aspen, through SkyWest Airlines with the CRJ700.
Officials have said they hope the planned lengthening of the airport's runway by 1,000 feet will create opportunities for more aircraft to fly here, luring back competing airlines to help drive down prices for the 2011-2012 winter season.
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