A drop in airfares for Aspen? | AspenTimes.com

A drop in airfares for Aspen?

ASPEN ” Following Thursday’s announcement that Frontier Airlines will fly in and out of Aspen starting May 15, local travelers are waiting to watch fares drop.

How United Airlines will react to Frontier’s presence in Aspen remains to be seen but industry observers say the cost of flying to and from Aspen will surely decrease. Changes to fares typically happen quickly in response to competition, said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass and the local liaison to the airline industry.

“It’s anybody’s guess and depends partly on when people book Frontier,” he said. “But this is the beginning of significant changes for the landscape of our airport in terms of service and fares.”

Depending on the season, United Airlines operates between six and 13 flights daily into Aspen, with an additional three on the weekends.

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said while the Justice Department forbids airlines to discuss future pricing publicly, the company will adjust its fares.

“Historically, our fares remain competitive and we will compete rigorously, as we always do,” she said, adding United has competed against Frontier for years at Denver International Airport.

Introductory fares offered by Frontier start as low as $49 each way to Colorado Springs and $89 to Denver.

Local travelers hearing Thursday’s news were ecstatic with Frontier’s arrival on the local scene.

“This is a tremendously positive response,” said Bob Morris, a United frequent flyer who travels more than 100,000 miles a year. He added that despite the benefits he gets as a frequent flyer, he will switch to Frontier, especially if he can fly Aspen to New York for half of what United offers. “For $300, they’ve got my attention. I’ll [fly Frontier] just to give them a chance.”

Fares also are expected to go down at Delta Airlines, which operates three flights a day to Aspen from Salt Lake City, with a fourth on weekend days. Delta’s direct service from Atlanta to Aspen begins Saturday.

See Friday’s Aspen Times for more on Frontier’s entrance into the Aspen market.

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