Far fewer canceled flights to Aspen this holiday season
Local airport operations were significantly smoother this holiday season, according to Fly Aspen Snowmass consultant Bill Tomcich.
“This past holiday season was far from perfect, but it was a dramatic improvement over last year,” he said.
One of the problems Aspen/Pitkin County Airport had last year was not having enough aircraft ready to fly. To combat this issue, Skywest had spare aircraft available for United, Delta, and American Airlines.
“When things went wrong with a particular aircraft, it didn’t have as nearly as severe an impact on operations as it did last year,” said Tomcich.
Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Director Dan Bartholomew said weather plays a huge role in the number of delays and cancellations. But this year a lot of the storms came in at night and did not delay airport operations. Bartholomew added that the spacing of weather events and the type of weather that comes also makes a difference.
Other than one severe weather day on Dec. 28, Delta completed every flight they were scheduled to operate from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2.
In terms of the overall numbers, he said, the overall holiday completion rate from Dec. 15 through Jan. 3 was 83%, compared to 66% last year.
He said 68% of flights were on time this year, as compared to 33% last year. Inbound-flight diversions were comparable to last year, and there were 73 cancelled flights compared to 198 last year.
“We do everything we can to limit operational issues,” Bartholomew said, noting that delays are typically weather-related.
Air-travel numbers were down 2.3% from 2019. But 2022 was the second strongest year ever, he said. Total passengers was up 21.5% from 2021.
“I’m anticipating the first month of 2023 is also going to see some very strong numbers,” he said, noting that many passengers who arrived in December 2022 flew out in January 2023.
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Tenants at the city’s oldest deed-restricted housing complex, Centennial Apartments, faced rent hikes as high as 30% in January that sent city, county, and APCHA officials into closed-door meetings with the relatively new landlord, Birge & Held.