FORT COLLINS and LOVELAND — The Northern Colorado Regional Airport has added nonstop flights to Los Angeles, its first commercial route since its new air traffic control system went online in March 2020, the airport said Thursday in a news release.
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The airport will now carry the callsign FNL.
The route, through carrier Avelo Airlines, will begin service Oct. 6. Flights will run on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at $49 one-way. In Los Angeles, travelers will arrive at and depart from Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR).
FNL Director Jason Licon told BizWest that airport staff conducted extensive research into the travel profiles of Northern Colorado residents to help determine which route they wanted to begin carrying.
“We at the airport here are always looking for potential carriers,” Licon said. “We actually got really granular to the point where we were able to look at historical information on Northern Colorado airline ticket purchases. We were able to look at demand. The L.A. area as a whole was at the very top.”
Licon said that, as Colorado becomes an increasingly popular tourist destination, the route will also help serve people from Southern California who want to see the state.
“Having a connection to Southern California is hopefully going to bring in people from there who are looking for Northern Colorado as a destination,” Licon said. “We find folks are willing and interested to travel from there to here.”
Avelo Airlines began operating in April. It is based out of Burbank, California, and flies to 12 destinations across the western U.S. using Boeing Next Generation 737 aircraft.
“One of the things that allowed this to happen was our new state-of-the-art air traffic control,” Licon said, emphasizing the role of state and local funding in making that project a reality. “That really made us more attractive to carriers such as this.”
Licon said that, in addition to L.A., other high-demand destinations from Northern Colorado residents include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and the San Francisco Bay Area. If this initial route does well, the airport will look into adding flights to those cities, he said.
“We’re really excited to be able to offer regularly scheduled commercial air service,” Licon said.
Still uncertain is the status of airline service from Allegiant Travel Co. (Nasdaq: ALGT), which had planned to return to the airport and provide service to Las Vegas and Phoenix. It’s plans were derailed first by inability to get air traffic control services available at the airport and then by the pandemic. Allegiant serviced the airport for nine years up to 2012 but pulled out, citing the lack of a control tower.
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