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Colorado’s mountain airports are thriving despite national rural air service struggle

Colorado’s airports in Aspen, Durango, Eagle County, Gunnison, Hayden and Montrose set records in 2021 and are staying busy in 2022.

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
United Airlines flight 5627 arrives at the Montrose Regional Airport in Montrose on Aug. 1.
William Woody/The Colorado Sun

COLORADO — Colorado’s mountain-town airports are busier than ever despite airlines limping through a pilot shortage and slashing service to smaller communities.

The number of passengers flying in and out of Aspen, Durango, Eagle County, Gunnison, Hayden and Montrose in 2022 is on a record-setting pace, marking a rural airport strength that does not reflect national trends.

“While communities that are not ski or resort destinations are struggling to maintain a minimum level of service, the mountain airports are doing pretty well,” said Bill Tomcich, who helps high country communities negotiate for air service.



Airlines are cutting service to regional airports across the country as an ongoing shortage of pilots and other workers and soaring fuel prices hinders the industry’s recovery from the pandemic shutdown.

Last fall, United announced it was dropping 11 small cities from its hubs in Chicago, Denver and Houston. Delta last year pulled out of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Cody, Wyoming, as well as Grand Junction. American also cut service to four U.S. cities and ended four routes. 



Read more on ColoradoSun.com.


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