Last updated 10:43AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Frontier Flying to Durango Part 2
(2008-04-22)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: As of this morning, Frontier airlines is now officially taking off at Durango-LaPlata County Airport.
How could this service impact other airports in the Four Corners?
KSUT's Sarah Baumgartner explores the answer, in the second of her two reports on Four Corners Air Service.

(TRIBAL HONOR SONG)
SARAH: Members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe danced in honor of the arrival and departure of Frontier Airlines Lynx Aviation's maiden voyage.
Airport officials, distinguished guests and others watched as the turbo prop arrived in style at Durango-La Plata County airport with Frontier boldly written across the side of the aircraft with a picture of a lynx on the vertical fin.
But how will Frontier's flights to and from Durango affect travel at airports around the region, if at all?
RUSS MACHEN: WELL AFTER THE HONEYMOON PERIOD OF THEIR LOW RATES IS GONE, YOU KNOW THEIR INTRODUCTORY RATES, I REALLY DON'T THINK THEY'LL HAVE AN IMPACT US.
That's Russ Machen, airport manager for the Cortez Municipal Airport.
He says Cortez isn't feeling the heat from Frontiers presence in Durango, in fact it's quite the opposite.
MACHEN: RIGHT NOW IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THE YEAR WE ARE RUNNING AT RECORD NUMBERS AND WERE 18% ABOVE LAST YEARS LEVEL.
Great Lakes Airlines is the lone air carrier for the Cortez Municipal Airport.
Four Corners Regional airport in Farmington is also served by Great Lakes Airlines and by America West Express Airlines.
Four Corners Regional airport manager Brent Shiner says that all three airports, themselves, Durango and Cortez compete for passengers in the same market.
BRENT SHINER: AND OUR CATCHMENT AREA INCLUDES CORTEZ AND DURANGO IN THE SENSE THAT PEOPLE CAN DRIVE TO EITHER ANY OF THOSE AIRPORTS. FROM FARMINGTON YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT IN THE MIDDLE. THAT'S WHO OUR MARKET IS. THAT'S WHAT THEY CALL THE CATCHMENT AREA. THAT'S WHO YOUR PASSENGERS ARE. SO THEY LOOK AT THE POPULATION BASE. THEY LOOK AT THEIR DISPOSABLE INCOME. AND THAT'S WHEN WE MARKET THAT'S WHO WE'RE LOOKING AT.
Ron Dent, Airport Manager at Durango-La Plata County Airport has the same sentiments as Shiner but says that a lot of the competition is based on airlines and ticket prices.
RON DENT: A LOT IT'S GOING TO DEPEND ON WHAT THEY DO AS FAR AS FARE RESPONSE. REALLY 50 MILES ISN'T FAR. MANY PEOPLE WILL DRIVE TO ONE OF THE THREE AIRPORTS THAT SERVES OUR NEEDS THE BEST.
Dent says by far, Durango offers probably the best options for air travelers, especially with the addition of Frontier.
Durango has 800 seats available on a daily basis, from four airlines, compared to 114 seats from Cortez and 133 seats a day from Farmington's airport.
(BYTE FROM FRONTIERS MAIDEN VOYAGE)
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Sarah Baumgartner.
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