The number of flight cancellations at Durango-La Plata County Airport has more than doubled this year because of harsh snowstorms and summer thunderstorms.
United Airlines and American Airlines have canceled 115 flights serving Durango from January through July this year. The number of cancellations is up 130% from the same period last year when 50 flights were canceled, according to the airport’s activity report.
United is largely responsible for the increase in cancellations, the report shows.
The airline canceled 65 flights in the first seven months of the year, up from 15 flights during the same period last year.
Heavy snow and thunderstorms in Denver were responsible for many of United’s cancellations, said Tony Vicari, director of aviation.
“It’s not in the airlines’ best interest to cancel. ... They typically do so for safety reasons,” he said.
Vicari said he understands flight cancellations can cause frustration among passengers, but they are a small percentage of the 2,456 scheduled flights provided at the airport so far this year.
United did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
The Durango airport cannot control cancellations, but it does hurt the airport financially when flights are canceled because the passengers are not spending money on parking or concessions, Vicari said.
However, the airport is doing well financially because of the strong travel through the airport this year, he said.
In July, more than 40,000 passengers traveled through the airport making it the busiest month ever for the airport, he said.