Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New commercial flight at Fort Collins/Loveland beginning on Friday

Beginning this Friday, Allegiant is beginning new jet service from Fort Collins/Loveland to Phoenix. This is the second commercial flight to operate out of FNL, and this is something that I have been harping on for years.
Northeast Colorado is ripe for air service. There are two universities in the area (Colorado State and Northern Colorado), multiple large employers (HP, Budweiser), and trendy travel destinations nearby (Rocky Mountain National Park, multiple ski resorts). Plus, the region has become significantly populated. I have a feeling that adding air service to this would have a Field of Dreams effect - "if you build it they will come."

The drive to Denver International Airport from the Fort Collins/Loveland areas takes approximately 1:30. There are many examples of airlines currently offering service to cities that are as equidistant to a significant airport as FNL. Delta currently flies to Fort Dodge, Iowa (population 25,000). It is located 1:35 from Des Moines, Iowa. Delta also flies to Jamestown, North Dakota (population 15,000). This bustling metropolis is located 1:31 from Bismarck, ND. United flies to Klamath Falls, Oregon (population 20,000), which is located 1:32 minutes from Medford, Oregon. The Fort Collins/Loveland/Greeley/Windsor area has a population over 200,000.

I am glad that at least Allegiant is developing its FNL service. The jet service to Las Vegas was a no-brainer. The next expansion should be to a Florida resort town, or a midwestern hub, like Chicago. I would imagine that there would be a lot of people in Northeast Colorado who would pay a little more for airplane tickets to avoid the long drive to Denver. Allegiant serves FNL with the MD-80, which seats 130-170 passengers. But there's nothing saying you can't fly in and out of FNL with a CRJ or Embraer, the latter of which only requires you to fill 37 seats.

That's all I got.

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