Aviation Poised to Soar in Denver

Future growth areas could include aircraft production, maintenance, airport support and commercial air service.

Colorado has had mixed success in luring - and keeping - aviation businesses here. Adam Aircraft recently decided to locate its manufacturing and assembly plants in Ogden, Utah, saying Colorado just wasn't competitive in terms of economic incentives.

But state lawmakers last year approved legislation allowing airports to offer up to $2 million in annual tax breaks to aircraft-manufacturing companies. That helped sway ATG to open its manufacturing facility in the Denver area.

The state still lags other areas in what it can offer.

Two small upstart aviation companies recently decided to relocate from the Colorado Springs area to Laramie, reportedly because it was offered a much better incentive package.


Taking flight: The metro area's aviation industry growing steadily

* Denver International Airport: Passenger traffic up 10.4 percent this year, on pace to smash record set in 2005. Building a new regional jet facility on Concourse B; considering adding up to eight more gates on C concourse.

* United Airlines: After shrinking presence in Denver as it fought through bankruptcy, carrier is now adding routes and flights.

* Frontier Airlines: Denver-based carrier has increased capacity by 60 percent in past three years while more than doubling its work force, with further expansion in the pipeline.

* Southwest Airlines: Nearly tripled service here since launching flights at DIA in January. Has indicated more growth in near future.

* Adam Aircraft: Arapahoe County-based company set to ramp up production of its A500 propeller plane and finish development of its new A700 lightweight aircraft. Doubled staff in the past 18 months; recently received $93 million in venture capital.

* Aviation Technology Group: Arapahoe County-based company will produce two-seat jets at Front Range Airport, creating 150 high-paying jobs and possibly up to 500 in the future.

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