American Airlines said Tuesday that it will launch seasonal nonstop service from Colorado Springs to Phoenix starting Dec. 18, one of a series of air service expansions here by four of the nation’s major carriers.
The announcement from the nation’s largest carrier comes after it expanded its Colorado Springs to Dallas service last month, and Delta and United added more flights to Salt Lake City and Denver. United also unveiled plans recently to expand its service to Los Angeles, and Frontier is increasing its flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas. As a result of the recent expansions, the seat capacity of outgoing flights this summer has been at a 10-year high.
“It has been a good summer and fall for our airport. We look for continued growth in 2020,” Greg Phillips, aviation director for the Colorado Springs Airport, said in a news release Tuesday. “We continue to work with our (four) air carriers. All are very pleased with Colorado Springs, so I believe we can count on, at the very least, incremental growth and strong performance. We also continue to make the case for additional service from our current and new carriers.”
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will be American’s third destination from Colorado Springs. Its other nonstop daily flights are to Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth. American added another flight to its Dallas schedule last month, giving it six daily Dallas flights in summer and five a day starting Sept. 1.
Frontier Airlines has offered daily nonstop service to Phoenix since June 2016, then competing with Allegiant Air’s twice-a-week service, which ended last year.
“Due to current demand, we have been confident with the potential success of this route for some time,” Phillips said. “After recently meeting with American Airlines, they agreed and we are thrilled (with) the commitment American Airlines continues to show to Colorado Springs and the southern Colorado community.”
American’s new flight will leave Colorado Springs at 6:39 p.m. and arrive in Phoenix at 8:35 p.m. The return flight leaves Phoenix at 4 p.m. and reaches Colorado Springs at 5:49. The flight will be available to book July 29, but it’s not yet listed on American’s website, so no fare information was available.
Frontier’s one-way fare to Phoenix is $64 on Dec. 18 but increases to $192 the next day through early January for the busy holiday travel period.
American has one of its nine hubs in Phoenix, where it operates 258 daily nonstop flights serving 86 destinations and carrying more than 20 million passengers a year.
Its new Phoenix flight will offer connections to 53 destinations, said Josh Stone, air service development manager for the Colorado Springs Airport.
Airport officials expect passenger traffic to be flat this year, as increased capacity coming this year will offset declines early in the year when Frontier had suspended more seasonal flights than it did in 2018.
Delta and United airlines expanded their Colorado Springs schedules in June. Delta now operates three flights a day to Salt Lake City, up from one daily flight and a second flight three days a week. United added two flights to Denver on its full-size jets — 150-passenger Airbus A319s and 179-passenger Boeing 737-900ER — to the eight flights on regional carriers operating 50- and 70-seat regional jets. United on Oct. 27 also will add a third daily flight to Los Angeles International Airport.
American’s new flight will start about a month after Frontier suspends seasonal service to Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. Frontier, however, will increase its flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix from seven to 10 a week, with an extra flight to each city on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The airline also has switched to a larger 179-passenger Airbus A320 aircraft from a 150-passenger A319.
Frontier’s seasonal changes begin two to three months later than last year, when the carrier suspended flights to three cities in early August and stopped flights to five more cities in late September. Frontier continued to operate daily nonstop service last year to Las Vegas and Phoenix, though, and that service continues and expands.
Other changes in Frontier’s schedule:
• Daily service to Orlando will switch Nov. 14 to flights on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
• Five-day-a-week service to Dulles International in Washington, D.C., will be suspended Nov. 12.
• Also Nov. 12, thrice-weekly service to Minneapolis will be suspended.
• Daily service to Atlanta is to be suspended Nov. 13.
• Nov. 13 also will see suspension of the four-day-a-week service to San Antonio.