A $38M annual boost forecast: Economist predicts hangar will have a big ripple effect

Nov. 3--It wasn't exactly a return to the era of Western Pacific Airlines, but Frontier Airlines' announcement Friday that it will build a maintenance hangar, hire hundreds and eventually start passenger service in Colorado Springs had civic leaders...


The incentives used to attract both the Frontier and SkyWest maintenance operations also are available to other carriers and offer "a great opportunity for airlines to do this type of activity in Colorado Springs," Rivera said. "I don't think that DIA can match us."

Frontier's hangar is scheduled to be built on 11 acres near the south end of the airport's west runway near hangars owned by JHW Investment Co., Earle said.

The carrier now leases a hangar at DIA from Continental Airlines on a month-tomonth basis for its maintenance facility.

Employees at that facility will be given the chance to move to Colorado Springs, and Frontier will pay relocation costs, Menke said.

Although Frontier began looking at building its own maintenance hangar in 2000, the airline shelved those plans after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Menke said.

The carrier resumed the search about a year ago and sought bids from the Springs, DIA and five other airports.

Frontier narrowed its choices to Denver and the Springs last month and Denver officials worked "aggressively to keep our maintenance base in Denver," including an offer to cap sales tax Frontier now pays to Denver on aircraft parts purchases, Menke said.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said in a statement released Friday that he was "disappointed" Frontier's hangar won't remain at DIA.

He said the city put together "the most fair and competitive proposal we could but lost to another great Colorado city."

DIA Aviation Manager Turner West said the proposal was "both competitive and fair without compromising the airport's or the city's budget."

Mike Boyd, an Evergreenbased airline industry consultant, said Springs officials should "send a thank you note to Mayor Hickenlooper. This was Denver's to lose."

CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0234 or wayneh@gazette.com

SO YOU WANT TO FLY ON FRONTIER FROM SPRINGS?

Question: I want to start flying Frontier Airlines from Colorado Springs. How soon can I do that?

Answer: Frontier plans to begin flights between the Springs and Denver in late spring. Details on fares, how many flights and what type of aircraft aren't yet available.

Q: What cities will Frontier serve from Colorado Springs?

A: Initially, the carrier will only fly to Denver, but CEO Sean Menke said Frontier would later consider nonstop flights to other cities.

Q: Will Frontier's presence in Colorado Springs make it less expensive to fly from here?

A: Andrew Goetz of Denver University's Intermodal Transportation Institute said Frontier will boost competition that will push down fares.

AISLE OR WINDOW?

Four or five daily flights on 78-seat jets should start by late spring. Bigger planes and other destinations could follow in years to come.

To see more of The Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.gazette.com. Copyright (c) 2007, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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