The Durango-La Plata County Airport will resume seasonal nonstop Saturday service to Los Angeles International Airport next summer for a third consecutive year.
Nonstop Saturday flights to Los Angeles will start June 9, similar to what was offered last summer by American Airlines.
The service will feature a slightly extended season, with flights to LAX running until Sept. 1.
Tony Vicari, director of aviation for the Durango-La Plata County Airport, said utilization of the DRO-LAX route increased by about 9 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year.
“We are not always privy to airline statistics, but utilization did increase from year one to year two,” he said. “American Airlines was pleased with the performance of the route and decided to continue to assess what that market looks like for them long term.”
Vicari said he would like to see the route grow beyond a summer service to become a permanent fixture.
“The service is scheduled to run a little longer, which is a small gain, but helps American Airlines better judge what that market looks like through the peak of summer and into early fall,” he said.
Vicari said the route is currently offered on Saturdays because it is traditionally the slowest travel day for airlines.
“Saturday is low tide in terms of passengers,” he said. “That means carriers will look to pull an aircraft off an established route and test it on a new market then.”
Ticket prices will be similar to those offered last summer, Vicari said.
“Price is based on huge algorithms, but last year we saw rates as low as $340 round-trip,” he said.
He said the key to establishing year-round service to Los Angeles from Durango is to prove it will be profitable to the airline.
“Airlines are not expanding routes rapidly,” Vicari said.
“It is not typical for an airline to develop a new service without feeling comfortable that it will be profitable. They have to allocate a flight crew, aircraft and gate position in Los Angeles for a permanent fixture.”