Colorado Springs Airport: Boom to Bust

Located in the same city as our national Olympic headquarters in the small city of Colorado Springs, Colorado, there is an unnoticed airport that is undergoing a huge decline in the number of passengers it sees. In 1994 Colorado Springs opened their first airport in which served 1.5 million passengers on average within its first 2 years of operation. By 1996 the city had created a larger terminal and now the airport would be able to serve 2.5 million. This year however, the airport will serve less than half of the passengers that they had when they opened in 1994.

What happened to the airport? First, 7 of the airlines that operated independently have now merged with other airlines due to bankruptcy. Due to this mishap the airport now only has 4 airlines that operate 12 flights a week and 1 airline with 4 flights a week. While many officials have been trying to persuade passengers to fly out of Colorado Springs versus Denver, airlines do not like the idea of taking a risk especially when they already have a system in place flying out of bigger cities.

Based on the article Western Pacific airlines took the bulk of the hit from Colorado Springs because it was a hub for them. However, because they were not getting the passengers that they were expecting, 2 years later they moved their hub to Denver. The airline was expecting to merge with frontier airlines because of financial reasons. The frontier airlines merger broke down and eventually shut down operations due to bankruptcy.

This article has dealt with 2 concepts I have learned about this quarter from class. The first concept involved in the article is forecasting. In order to figure out how much the airport is going to make, they must forecast how many planes are going to come in and out Colorado Springs airport. Based on the all of the economical factors with 9/11 stopping air travel and the depression of 2007 it has caused smaller airports to not function as well as they used to. With the airport operating with fewer passengers, airlines and flights then what they opened the forecast has been accurately calculated in order to reflect these economical factors surrounding the airport.

The second concept they talk about it cost versus resources and flights. Many airlines cut their ties with the Colorado Springs airport because the airlines were losing money on select flights due to low passengers on the flights. Therefore airlines must decide whether or not they think they will make money with flights out of Colorado Springs. However, this is not an easy task because many airlines are stubborn when it comes to the flight system they have in place.

To add some optimism to this article at the end, airport director Dan Gallagher stated that using this airport in the future will be a lot cheaper and that they would be able to handle triple the passenger flow. Also he added that the airport has paid off two-thirds of it debts. Therefore he expects that this airport will return to the glory days it once had when it opened in 1994.

These points raise the questions: Will Colorado Springs airport return to its former self? Will they be able to draw in more airlines and passengers to use it services? Are there any immediate problems they can solve with what they have?


One thought on “Colorado Springs Airport: Boom to Bust

  1. I agree, this is a strong argument between the airport being reconstructed to its former self, and will the airlines meet the passenger roll, to meet costs. Here we can see a situation of getting the people to come to Colorado Springs, instead of flying to just big hubs like Denver. We noticed that flights are more toward Denver, a lot of the prices must be cheaper, and also its a much bigger city. If the airlines want to continue flying to Colorado Springs, they must try to find a equal price from the flights flying into denver, or create a more diverse airlines to depart and arrive there. For example, instead of just carrying United, Southwest, Airtran, they should try to reconstruct and share terminals with those flights with other airlines as well and not just keep the 12 flights a week from 4 airlines.

    I strongly agree with this article though, great facts were issued and it showed strong courage to change the way of Colorado Springs Airport!


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