United Will Fly Into Aspen With SkyWest

United Airlines has found a way to keep flying jets into Aspen.

In 2005, United announced it was ending its contract with regional air carrier Air Wisconsin Airline Corp., leaving some uncertainty about jet service to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport.

Starting in April, United will replace Air Wisconsin service with flights by SkyWest Inc. United Express will continue to serve Aspen with jet and turboprop flights, but the SkyWest flights will be United's fancier regional "explus" jet service on 66-seat Canadair RJ-700 regional jets that have economy, economy plus and first-class sections.

United Express is the largest carrier serving the area, flying 90,000 passengers into and out of Aspen during an average winter. Eighty percent of Aspen's winter traffic arrives by air, but only some commercial planes can land at Aspen's high-altitude airport. The SkyWest planes will be more comfortable than Air Wisconsin's, said United spokesman Jeff Green.

"We hope to attract a premium traveler with the first-class service as well as our frequent travelers who like to upgrade," he said.

Staff writer Kelly Yamanouchi can be reached at 303-820-1488 or kyamanouchi@denverpost.com.

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