A smooth landing for Frontier? | AspenTimes.com

A smooth landing for Frontier?

ASPEN Aspen has offered Frontier Airlines $100,000 in cash if the low-cost carrier decides to land at Sardy Field.Frontier has purchased enough planes to expand service to between 10 and 15 new destinations, said Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich. Already, competing airports have been whittled down from 60 to 30 cities.”I just finished having lunch with a senior vice president of Frontier Airlines about an hour ago,” Tomcich said by phone on Sunday. “Let’s just say I left with a very good feeling about the package we presented.”David Perry, senior vice president of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s mountain division, said he has worked closely with airport administrators and Tomcich to woo Frontier into Aspen. He said there is plenty of room for another carrier and that airlines thrive with competition. Stay Aspen Snowmass, a reservations agency, is awaiting board approval to put up $25,000 toward the incentive. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association is expected to approve $15,000 in funding when its board meets Tuesday, while the marketing arm of the town of Snowmass Village ponied up $15,000. The Skico has pledged $25,000. Discussions with other unidentified parties are under way to secure the rest of the funding. “It takes all of us partners coming together to make this stuff happen,” said Susan Hamley, director of marketing for Snowmass Village. “This is just a way to sweeten the pot. We’re saying we’re willing to put some money on the table.”Debbie Braun, president and CEO of ACRA, stressed incentive is a one-time deal and not the same as subsidizing the airline. She said local business leaders believed it was important to show Frontier the community was behind the move. “We have traditionally avoided getting into subsidies for the airlines; we don’t subsidize certain airlines over the others,” Tomcich agreed. “This is not out of line with what’s been done in the past with every airline that’s entered our market. We’ve done this with Northwest, we’ve done it with Delta, with United.”Delta and U.S. Airways both announced new service into Aspen during the last year. If Frontier decides to fly into Aspen, the airline would use the Bombadier Q400, a slightly larger plane than the CRJ-700s currently serving the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, also known as Sardy Field. No date on when such a decision might be made has been released.”Although it is a turbo-prop, it changes people’s perception of a turbo-prop once they’ve flown in it,” Perry said. “It’s large, comfortable, smooth, fast; it’s a great aircraft for our market. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope Frontier decides to come here.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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