Durango-La Plata County Airport set another passenger record in 2009, as nearly 150,000 people flew out of the airport.
The airport saw a 9.4-percent increase in departing passengers, from 136,665 in 2008 to 149,455. Passenger arrival
numbers were similar.
Passenger traffic at the airport has risen consistently for years.
Ron Dent, the airport's director of aviation, marveled at the growth.
It wasn't that long ago, in 2004, when we weren't even over 100,000 (passengers)," he said.
Since April 2008, Durango has benefited from the presence of Frontier Airlines, which flies to Denver International
Airport. Competition between Frontier and United Express has driven down prices on the popular Durango to Denver
We've got more competitive pricing in the market right now," said Don Brockus, deputy director of aviation. That's
putting us in a position to pull more of the Four Corners market back that used to go to Albuquerque."
July and August were the busiest months of the year. More than 15,000 passengers flew out in each of those months.
January was the slowest month, with only 9,058 passengers.
The airport figures appear to reflect the continued seasonality of tourism in Durango. Despite efforts by groups such
as the Business Improvement District to promote off-season events, the bulge in summer passenger enplanements remains
I do think that the majority of our tourism is in the summer," said John Wells, chairman of the BID board and
owner-broker of The Wells Group real estate agency in Durango.
Years ago, there was a strong effort to bring winter airplane charters from Dallas and Houston to Durango, which
carried planeloads of skiers at a time" in the winter months, Wells said.
Wells said Durango would profit from an airline route to and from Texas.
We just don't have that great of service to that area, which would be really a benefit," he said.
Durango's tourism season continues to run opposite those of true ski resorts" such as Telluride and Vail, which see
more visitors during winter, he said.