Summer Chicago-Aspen direct flight to debut |

Summer Chicago-Aspen direct flight to debut

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – United will offer a nonstop direct flight from Chicago to Aspen for the first time in the summer months this year, but the return flight will require a stop in Denver for refueling.

The service is planned on Saturdays, according to Bill Tomcich, president of reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass and the resort’s liaison to the airline industry. A plan to extend the Aspen airport runway is in the works, but until that occurs, weight restrictions on takeoff during the warmer months of summer mean a direct flight back to Chicago isn’t possible, he said.

In all, Tomcich said the number of seats serving Aspen this summer will be up 5 to 7 percent on United and Frontier. He gave a brief report on the state of air service to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association board of directors on Tuesday.

Enplanements – the number of people who got on a commercial flight – were up 15 percent last winter, between December and April, Tomcich said.

However Delta, which offers one connection a day in the winter to both Salt Lake City and Atlanta, struggled, he said.

“They’re future here is somewhat uncertain,” Tomcich said.

Average airfares for Aspen travelers were down 17 percent last year, Tomcich added. The average fare was $232 in 2009, compared to $278 in 2008, but United and Frontier remain pleased with the performance of the Aspen market, he said.