Tourism season for Aspen and Snowmass in full flight
Increased capacity at Sardy Field, with six daily flights from Texas, seven on Saturday, begins this week
Flights coming in and out of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport are in full swing this summer, with an emphasis on the Texas market.
Starting this week, there are six daily fights from Texas and on Saturday it’s seven with the addition of American Airlines’ new nonstop service from Austin, according to Bill Tomcich, a local airline consultant.
It’s double the capacity of the summer of 2019, when United Airlines offered one daily nonstop from Houston and American had twice daily service from Dallas-Fort Worth.
On Thursday, United began offering twice daily service from Houston and American has four flights every day from Dallas-Fort Worth.
The inaugural Austin flight is the first new nonstop route since Houston was added more than 10 years ago, according to Tomcich.
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He said he pitched Austin to American Airlines last fall as a new market opportunity after doing some research.
Airline service to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is planned through Aug. 16 as follows:
Four flights daily from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW); two flights daily each from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX); one daily from Phoenix (PHX), plus new Saturday service from Austin (AUS) for a total of nine flights daily, 10 on Saturdays.
Eight flights daily from Denver (DEN); two flights daily each from Houston (IAH) and LAX; and one daily each from ORD and San Francisco (SFO), for a total of 14 flights daily.
“I pointed out that Austin is the No. 1 point of origin for Aspen-bound travelers, which is within reach of a CRJ700 that is not currently served with nonstop flights,” he said via email. “It is not a hub for American, but as luck would have it, American announced a major expansion into Austin back in March, and Aspen is the only mountain resort destination that was included in this Austin expansion.”
He added that American has made a concerted effort to create the new flight because the airline does not have CRJ700 aircraft, which is what serves Aspen, based in Austin.
The flight originates as an early morning trip from Dallas to Austin and then onto Aspen. And the outbound flight from Aspen lands in Austin and continues on to Dallas, Tomcich said.
“This is also the first time in the history of the Aspen airport that a major network carrier has introduced a point-to-point nonstop route, meaning it’s not originating or terminating at a major hub,” he said.
Also on Thursday, United resumed its nonstop service from five hubs.
Between the two airlines serving the local market, there are 23 daily flights in and out of Aspen this summer, and 24 on Saturday.
Tomcich said he thinks airline ticket prices, which have been on the uptick, will level out with that many flights serving Aspen.
“If we didn’t see the kind of capacity increases now planned for this summer, we would probably be facing huge price increases,” he said. “As long as there is capacity to meet the expected demand this summer, and we now have more flights planned than ever before, including the summer of 2019 when a total of 20 daily flights were offered, I would expect fares to remain competitive.”
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