It won’t happen in Vegas, after all

Frontier cancels proposed service from Durango

Durangoans planning on flying out for a big weekend in Sin City will have find another route to get there.

Frontier Airlines has canceled its direct flights from Durango to Las Vegas because of slow ticket sales.

“Unfortunately, the community interest in this new service was far less than we anticipated,” said Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s senior vice president/commercial in a news release.

Frontier announced the new service in June with a sale on tickets, and flights were set to start on Oct 4. The flights were expected to be year-round and run twice a week.

Plenty of people bought tickets while they were on sale, but the numbers plateaued after that, said Ron Dent, aviation director of Durango-La Plata County Airport.

“They said they just weren’t selling tickets, and they can’t afford to fly a 138-seat plane empty,” he said. “We really appreciate Frontier for taking a shot at it.”

The Airbus A319 Frontier would have been the largest aircraft serving Durango.

The airline replaced its 74-passenger Bombardier Q400 turboprops with 100-passenger Embraer E-190 jets on its Durango-to-Denver route earlier this year.

Four airlines, including Frontier, offer service from Durango to Denver, Dallas or Phoenix.

The airport has seen an increase in the number of passengers through the years. It accommodated about 175,000 passengers last year, a 5.7 percent increase compared with 2010.

The airport recently received a $525,000 federal grant to complete work on rehabilitating the parking area for commercial airplanes and for ground-support equipment.

Dent said he thinks most people drive when they want to go to Las Vegas, partly because Durangoans tend to do things last minute.

“That seems to be a Durango trend sometimes, always doing things last minute. That could be part of it,” he said.

Frontier is contacting customers whose contact information they have to issue refunds. If a customer booked the flight through an online travel company, such as Expedia, they can call Frontier’s reservation system at (800) 432-1359.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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