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Colorado Springs Airport traffic surges to 5-year high in July

August 23, 2017 Updated: August 23, 2017 at 8:01 pm
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photo - The passenger terminal at the Colorado Springs Airport Wednesday, February 8, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
The passenger terminal at the Colorado Springs Airport Wednesday, February 8, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

Passenger numbers at the Colorado Springs Airport surged to a five-year high in July as Frontier Airlines launched flights to five new destinations during June and July to become the airport's largest carrier.

The 80,689 passengers who boarded departing flights last month was up 36.2 percent from July 2016 and the most for any month since 82,022 passengers boarded outgoing flights in July 2012, the airport announced Wednesday. While four of the airport's six airlines reported increased traffic, Frontier generated 86.7 percent of the increase by more than tripling its passenger count from a year earlier, when it operated flights to just two destinations, Las Vegas and Phoenix. The Denver-based carrier also passed United by 976 passengers to board the most passengers.

The gains might not be as large later this year - Frontier unveiled major changes July 18 to its Colorado Springs schedule to begin this fall, when it will add service to Fort Myers and Tampa, Fla., but suspend flights to Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and reduce service to San Diego.

Passenger numbers at the airport have increased from the same month a year earlier for 19 consecutive months and in the first seven months of the year are up 26.5 percent from the same period a year ago to 443,717. Frontier generated more than 90 percent of the year-to-date increase with Alaska, American and United also reporting gains, while Allegiant Air and Delta reported declines. The percentage of seats filled in the first seven months is down slightly to 85 percent from 86.3 percent during the same period last year.

"I'm very pleased to see our residents supporting the Colorado Springs Airport," Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said in a statement. "We asked them to 'look before you book' and choose their local airport over (Denver International Airport) and, by these numbers, Colorado Springs has really stepped up. This sort of community support is exactly what we need to continue the impressive growth path that our airport has been on for the past year. This along with the commitments of our airline partners, will certainly help keep our airport as a viable, affordable and convenient option for air travel."

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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