Frontier Airlines will offer daily flights to Orlando from Colorado Springs beginning Oct. 30, said Frontier President and CEO Barry Biffle, Tuesday morning. The announcement came as the airline celebrated its inaugural daily flight from Colorado Springs to Phoenix.
The announcement is “a win-win all around,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. “Today is a great day for Colorado Springs.”
Suthers said the city will continue to aggressively seek new flights to the airport.
“We’ve been meeting with other airlines,” he said. “They’re excited about what’s happening in Colorado Springs.”
Orlando flights will initially be offered at $79 for a round-trip, Biffle said.
Suthers, Regional Business Alliance CEO Dirk Draper and several other local elected officials boarded the jet, having scheduled to meet with businesses in Phoenix. The goal, Draper said, is to communicate the positive Colorado Springs business climate in an effort to boost the city’s standing with companies planning to either relocate or to grow here and to present them with gifts from the Pikes Peak region.
Draper, Suthers and El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey were scheduled to meet with Microchip, the parent company of Atmel Corp., to welcome them to the Colorado Springs business community. In April, Microchip acquired Atmel, a manufacturer of microcontrollers based in San Jose, Calif., that has a presence in Colorado Springs.
They were also to meet with commercial real estate firms CBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle. Both firms have acted in a site-selection role for companies looking to relocate.
Current daily flights from Las Vegas and Phoenix contribute significantly to the economy, Biffle said.
“They’re pretty big markets inbound,” he said, adding the upcoming Orlando flights should attract skiers in the winter and tourists to the Pikes Peak region in the summer.
Adding more flights lowers the cost to the airlines to use the Colorado Springs Airport, said Director of Aviation Dan Gallagher.
Passenger numbers at the airport have taken an upward trajectory of late, due in part to Frontier’s daily flights to Las Vegas, which started in April, Gallagher said.
“We’ll be up probably 5 percent for the year,” he said.
Currently, airlines pay $6.28 per passenger to use the Colorado Springs Airport. Adding more passengers further reduces that fee.
The airport became a temporary hotel Monday night, after nearly 50 flights to Denver were diverted to the Colorado Springs Airport because of hail, lightning and microbursts there, Gallagher said.
The airport stayed open Monday night to accommodate hundreds of stranded travelers.
Diversions from Denver will mean the Springs airport will receive “tens of thousands of dollars,” in diversion fees, Gallagher said.