Frontier to continue serving Aspen year-round

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenJanuary 21, 2011
Frontier Airlines is changing course and will continue to serve Aspen beyond this ski season.
Frontier Airlines will keep its remaining four unsold Bombardier Q400 turboprops this year and is using them to provide service from Denver to the Colorado destinations Aspen, Colorado Springs and Durango. Retaining the Q400s has allowed Frontier to keep year-round service going to Aspen, where the airline had previously announced it would suspend flights in April.
Bombardier Aerospace

The carrier had planned to phase out its four remaining Bombardier Q400 turboprop regional aircraft that are needed to fly into Aspen's mountainous terrain and suspend service here in April. But on Thursday, the airline announced it has decided to keep its four unsold turboprops and keep flying to Aspen. Frontier originally had 10 of the Bombardier Q400 turboprops but sold six of them.

The planes, touted as quiet and fuel efficient, are also used to serve Durango and Colorado Springs.

“In the midst of a great winter season in the market, we are very pleased to continue serving the Aspen community,” said Daniel Shurz, Frontier's vice president of strategy and planning. “In addition to providing our guests convenient access to this top travel destination, we are just as pleased to continue serving the Aspen community with Frontier’s affordable non-stop service to Denver which provides connections to our more than 70 destinations across the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica.”

The carrier will run one daily round-trip flight between April 18 and June 5 when it will boost its summer service to four daily round-trip flights between Denver and Aspen.

Bill Tomcich, president of central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass, called it “tremendous news.”

“We frankly couldn’t have hoped for a better scenario to allow Frontier to remain in our market than to continue to utilize an aircraft that is superbly suited for that mission,” he said.

Frontier, now owned by Republic Airways Holdings Inc., made a similar decision in August when it elected to continue flying to Aspen after previously announcing it would pull out altogether. That move was estimated to save tens of thousands of seats that would have been lost if Frontier pulled out. Frontier's presence also provides competition to United Airlines and can help keep fares down. Republic Airways Holdings acquired Frontier in 2009 and has since gone from flying under the proverbial radar and into the national spotlight. The company's CEO recently appeared on the TV show "Undercover Boss" and analysts at Goldman Sachs and other firms have upgraded ratings of its shares.

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