Airport officials meet with business leaders

LOVELAND — Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport officials have turned to the business community for help as the airport charts a new course following the departure of Allegiant Air.

Airport and Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. officials met with a group of area business people Tuesday at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland to discuss airport growth. The meeting was part of an effort to develop a “comprehensive air service development and marketing strategic plan,” according to an NCEDC statement.

That plan will address general and corporate aviation along with commercial air service and airport aviation business development, Airport Director Jason Licon said. The airport has contracted with Washington, D.C.-based airport management company AvPORTS to develop the plan.

Representatives from the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland as well as Larimer County and “numerous private businesses” attended the meeting, according to NCEDC.

Allegiant Air stopped its flights from the airport to Las Vegas and Phoenix in October. Allegiant CEO Maury Gallagher blamed the lack of an air-traffic control tower and too many general aviation aircraft in Fort Collins skies.

The withdrawal came after the airline had flown planes at the airport for nearly a decade and despite a 26-percent increase in the number of passengers boarding planes from the airport.

The airport is home to a number of business jets, including ones owned by Woodward Inc., Crop Production Services, billionaire Pat Stryker’s Bohemian Foundation and mobile-technology case maker OtterBox.

Business leaders have called for airport improvements.

OtterBox CEO Brian Thomas told the Business Report in November that simple upgrades could make the airport a “real economic driver for our community.” Those upgrades, he said, could include a repaved parking lot, landscaping and improved signage; terminal improvements such as food services, ticketing counters and a basic baggage system; and safety considerations such as an air traffic control tower and crosswind runway.

The airport, however, has slashed its $6.5 million project wish list in half as a result of Allegiant Air’s defection, as the Business Report wrote in November.


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