Great Lakes Airlines resumed commercial air service at Telluride Regional Airport on Saturday!
The four flights throughout the weekend sold well, according to Matt Skinner, chief operating officer of Colorado Flights Alliance.
Great Lakes discontinued flights to and from the Telluride airport (TEX) on Sept. 16, 2014, due to a pilot shortage. Great Lakes had served Telluride for 17 years.
Now the airline is back, and has partnered with United Airlines to book flights to and from Denver International Airport. Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Great Lakes plans to have an average of 10 flights per week: one per day during slower periods, and two or more per day during busier times of the year.
Great Lakes will be serving the route with its 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 twin-engine turboprop aircraft. The aircraft specializes in airports with short runways.
“This is a great development,” Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen said.
Jansen is a board member of the alliance, which worked to restore commercial air service to Telluride.
He said the convenience of having an airport within minutes of downtown Telluride and Mountain Village is something travelers and locals can both appreciate.
“There are people that want to land (in Telluride) and not rent a vehicle and drive on mountain roads,” he said.
Skinner echoed that sentiment, saying that visitors and area residents have expressed their desire to see commercial flights return to Telluride throughout the two years the alliance has worked to bring them back.
“I heard from both visitors and locals alike about the importance of having service in the area,” Skinner said.
Jansen explained that he took hundreds of flights out of Telluride before service was discontinued. Eliminating the extra travel time after a late landing was less stressful.
Jansen said Montrose is still the area’s regional airport since it’s bigger, but adding flight options so close to town is something the board wanted to offer the area.
“Few mountain towns can say they’re expanding air service,” Jansen said. “…There’s not a more beautiful airport in the world (than Telluride).”
Skinner said having five airports within 2.5 hours of town in Telluride, Montrose, Cortez, Durango and Grand Junction isn’t typical.
“For a ski town there definitely isn’t another with those types of options within two-and-a-half hours,” he said.
The alliance, a regional partnership, actively works to secure commercial air service to Telluride and Montrose.
“Bringing in more seats is impressive,” Jansen said.
He cited less-than-favorable industry trends the alliance has encountered. Still, the group has managed to create more air service.
In Montrose, flights to Phoenix and Dallas were added this winter.
For more information about the new service at TEX, visit Great Lakes Aviation Website.
(courtesy: Telluride Daily Planet, December 16, 2016)
Call us with any questions on getting to Telluride this winter!
The Village Real Estate team: Janice, Jean and Emma