Front Range Airport maintains vehicles specifically dedicated to shuttling customers to and from DEN and approved hotels. Says Heap, “The shuttle service to DEN helps us capture that corporate traffic; it’s an 18 minute ride. We’re not going to get the corporate airplanes going into Centennial or Rocky Mountain; they are over there because they’re going to the Denver Tech Center, and that side of town.”
During the Christmas holidays, the airport fills up with aircraft, he adds. “It’s all overflow from Aspen and Eagle; what they are doing is taking passengers up to the mountains, and the pilots come back here — we shuttle them to DEN to fly home and they leave the airplane with us.
“That’s part of our strategy — to capitalize on that dynamic relationship between general aviation and scheduled airline service at DEN.”
One thing the airport needs to develop, relates Heap, is the FBO terminal facility. Built more than twenty years ago, plans are in place for a facelift. The airport will take a page from NetJets’ standards and requirements manual for its own customer service facilities.
Comments Heap, “A number of carriers, NetJets and such, have told us the airport is great ... air traffic control, the runways, etc; but our terminal is not to their standards.
“So we are going to get the terminal to their standards, and we will have that done by the middle of this year.”
“Aircraft storage is perhaps the most interesting of our current endeavors as forecasts show that 700 50-seat regional jets will be parked between now and 2015,” explains Heap. “We have enough paved ramp to park 180 regional jets.
“A key to this market is to have the infrastructure needed — hangars for maintenance facilities, large amounts of land to develop more parking, and then to take aircraft storage to the next step: parts, scrapping, and salvage.”
Increased military operations is another major potential growth driver for FTG, says Heap. Annual military operations were at 585 here in 2008; 2009 saw 411 total operations. Last year, however, the airport logged 1,180 military operations — an increase of 187 percent.
The airport has a capital improvement plan in place for 2011 valued at some $5.2 million. The funds will be used to purchase ARFF equipment; install an electrical upgrade and conduct an environmental review on Runway 17/35 to increase its strength; perform an overlay on Runway 8/26; and to construct a snow removal equipment building.
The airport is also currently in the process of establishing an oil and gas lease. “The signing bonus is so much an acre … and that’s how we plan to fund the terminal,” relates Heap.
“We also farm dry-land wheat here. Airports need to look at a lot of different revenue sources.”
TransPort, a planned cargo area near Front Range Airport, may not get the Union Pacific yard it saw as an integral part.
Seeking passenger seating, Front Range Airport pushes to offer low-fare service
The nation's largest aviation air-traffic-control tower became operational in August, and last month Front Range also beat out other larger airports for the coveted contract to house a new...