All-you-can-eat buffets, pole dancers and penny slots await Durangoans while Las Vegans can soon escape the desert to see the fall colors or ski the slopes of Purgatory.
Frontier Airlines on Wednesday announced direct flights between Las Vegas and Durango beginning Oct. 4. Fares are as low as $49 one way if purchased by the end of the month.
The one-hour flights on 138-seat aircraft will be twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. The Airbus A319 Frontier will be the largest aircraft serving Durango.
The flights create marketing opportunities for both destinations, said Ron Dent, aviation director of Durango-La Plata Airport.
“There is potential for two-way tourism vacation travel,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re going to have skiers going one way and gamblers going another way.”
Frontier and the airport have been working on the flight arrangements for a while, Dent said.
Frontier originally approached the airport for assurance on ground equipment and runway length to accommodate new service to Las Vegas, Dent said.
“We have been looking at ways to expand service to top destinations from our home state,” said Lindsey Carpenter, a communications officer for Frontier, based in Denver.
The flights are expected to be year round.
After Las Vegas, Dent said he would like to see a nonstop flight to Houston and upgraded service to Dallas. He said he is expecting United Airlines to bring in larger aircraft with more seating capacity sometime in August.
The fact that Frontier is expanding service to Durango is notable because airlines are cutting back in many markets, especially regional airports, Dent said.
“We’ve been fortunate,” he said.