Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Airport boarding numbers feel ripple effect from fire

By: WAYNE HEILMAN
September 27, 2012
0
photo - Passengers exit a Frontier Airlines Bombardier Q-400 from Denver Friday, April 20, 2012, at the Colorado Springs Airport.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) Photo by
Passengers exit a Frontier Airlines Bombardier Q-400 from Denver Friday, April 20, 2012, at the Colorado Springs Airport. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) Photo by  

The Waldo Canyon fire never burned within 20 miles of the Colorado Springs Airport, but that didn’t keep the blaze from hurting passenger traffic during July.

Passenger numbers in the month that the devastating fire was contained rose just 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 82,022, airport officials reported Thursday to the city’s Airport Advisory Commission. Three of the airport’s four largest carriers — American, Delta and United — reported declines in July, but traffic on Frontier Airlines was up 63.8 percent from a year ago as a result of the Denver-based airline adding nonstop flights in May to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle.

The overall July increase was down from June’s year-over-year 5.2 percent increase.

“The increase is lower than we had projected, which we believe is due to the economic effects” of the fire, said Mark Earle, the city’s aviation director. Earle noted that hotel occupancy levels in July were down 13.3 percent from a year ago, the biggest year-over-year drop since September 2011.

“We believe the fire affected a lot of inbound travel, and while a lot of travelers drive to Colorado Springs, a significant amount arrive here by air,” Earle said. “While we don’t have traffic numbers for August, our concession and parking numbers” show traffic recovering.

Traffic for the first seven months of the year is off 1.4 percent from the same period a year ago to 471,177, but Earle said passenger numbers for the entire year should be up from a year ago as a result of the new Frontier nonstop flights, ending a five-year decline in annual passenger numbers.

Airport officials are forecasting a 2.4 percent increase in traffic next year, down from a 10 percent gain forecasted when Frontier began the nonstop flights. Earle said airport officials revised that forecast downward as a result of Allegiant Air suspending service recently between the Springs and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and Delta ending service last month between the Springs and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as part of broader cutbacks by Delta at its Minneapolis hub.

Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman
Facebook Wayne Heilman

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.