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Delta flies into Aspen airport

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Pitkin County is collecting feedback about the four proposed terminals at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Commissioners are scheduled to whittle down the terminal options to two at a Dec. 8 meeting.

Delta Airlines will join United and American Airlines in flying to Sardy Field this winter, resulting in flights from more cities than ever before.

“What we’re going to have is the most connected cities ever in our history,” said David Perry, senior vice president of Aspen Skiing Co. “And, of course, there is no bigger airline in the world than Delta.”

Delta announced Wednesday that it will begin daily flights from Atlanta and Saturday-only flights from Minneapolis.-St. Paul on Dec. 21. Delta last serviced the Aspen market in 2010.

Delta joins United and American in providing winter flights to Aspen from cities including Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and now Atlanta and Minneapolis.-St. Paul.

According to Perry, a deal was struck between Delta and a handful of “community partners” — the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, the city of Aspen, Pitkin County, Snowmass Tourism and Aspen Skiing Co. Perry said details of the contract to bring Delta to Aspen still were being negotiated Wednesday, so he could not release what public funds are being spent, but he confirmed that the deal was final.

“We’re excited to have Delta back in our market,” he said. “And they are the ones taking the big risk here; they’re the ones stepping up by adding this service.”

According to Delta, the new service will be operated by Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines using a two-class, 65-seat CRJ-700 featuring nine first-class seats and eight economy-comfort seats.

“Delta is committed to building a network that meets the diverse travel needs of our customers,” said Bob Cortelyou, Delta’s senior vice president for network planning, in a prepared statement. “Our new service now allows our customers to conveniently experience the many winter sports and cultural activities that Aspen/Snowmass has to offer.”

The news of Delta’s return to Aspen came on the same day it was announced that the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport received almost $2 million in U.S. Department of Transportation grants.

“Colorado’s regional airports create jobs, grow our economy and connect Main Street businesses with the rest of the state, region and world. These competitive grants will ensure that our airports are safer and updated to meet the demands of local companies and tourists,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, congratulating Aspen and eight other regional airports on the allocation of $6.1 million in grants. “I look forward to seeing how these important updates and improvements will contribute to our resurgent economy.”

For Aspen, the grants translate into $1.1 million for new equipment to help clear the airfield during severe weather, and another $844,691 was dedicated toward taxiway construction.


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