You may be able to book a flight to Denver this summer for only $19 one way. “Impossible,” you say, not when it’s Frontier Airlines offering the deal. You’re watching the Local News Network brought to you by Kroegers ACE Hardware and the Timbers at Edgemont Highlands. I’m Wendy Graham Settle. Passenger traffic through the Durango-La Plata County Airport, continues to recover from last year’s pandemic shutdowns. At a rate that’s as much as 25 percentage points higher than airports nationwide. Now, two new airline carriers will join United and American airlines on the Durango tarmac. Another indication that the local airport and the economy are on the mend. Airport director Tony Vicari, announced earlier this month that Delta Airlines will offer one daily non-stop flight from Durango to its hub in Salt Lake City, beginning May 12th. And will add a second daily flight to Salt Lake beginning, May 26th. In addition, Frontier Airlines will return to Durango to offer seasonal non-stop flights to Denver on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning June 4th. And on June 11th, the low cost carrier will offer year-round non-stop service on Mondays and Fridays to Las Vegas, Nevada. Vicari said Frontier is expected to offer deeply discounted teaser fares when it first lands in Durango, to attract new passengers with Denver fares as low as $19 one way and Las Vegas fares as low as $49 one way.
Frontier offers a little bit different business model there. ULCC, an Ultra Low Cost Carrier and really their model is designed to stimulate new traffic. So not necessarily to take traffic that’s existing, but to come in and penetrate markets with ultra low cost fares on the cost side obviously, and stimulate traffic primarily to leisure destinations, and that’s really their model. They’ve had a lot of success with that nationwide primarily bringing people to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Florida Beach markets.
Delta and Frontier join American and United airlines to offer nonstop flights to six destinations, including year round flights to Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. And seasonal flights to Los Angeles and Denver. The growth in destinations and passenger traffic at the Durango Airport reflect how the airline industry nationwide has shifted directions during the pandemic.
What we’ve seen is that destinations that are popular are domestic leisure locations. So international travel is down substantially and is likely to remain suppressed for quite some time, business travel is down significantly so some of the markets that you’ve seen that tend to be more international and business driven have really struggled. They continue to remain far under a 50% recovery from the pandemic a year later, whereas locations that are appealing to domestic leisure travelers primarily places that are outdoors, offer opportunities that seem to sync with social distancing and people’s concerns for maintaining those safe distances such as Durango have really fared well.
Vicari expects the added airline competition to drive down ticket prices if not keep them in check. As for Frontier’s one way teaser fares of $19 to Denver, that’s just what they are, teasers and most likely, they won’t last long. Nevertheless, Vicari speculated that fares to Las Vegas and Denver most likely will stand at $200 for a round trip ticket. To check out flight schedules and other airport information, visit flydurango.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, serving La Plata, Montezuma, and San Miguel counties in Southwest Colorado. And San Juan County in Northwest New Mexico. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.