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Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS)  
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11154 posts, RR: 58
Posted (14 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 1346 times:

Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), a hub to two airlines, that have failed.

Western Pacific and AccessAir both chose COS as there hubs (AccessAir's main hub was in Des Moines of course). Both have failed due to poor management.

COS, one of the best airports for a start-up airline's hub. Low operating costs, low competitions, and #1 plenty of room.

What do you think is next for COS? Crystal Airways, and airline planning to start up in Tampa (TPA) also has plans to establish a small hub in COS. However, it doesn't look like Crystal will ever get off the ground.

Southwest has been looking into establishing a small hub in COS. This would definately change air travel in Colorado Springs, and get more passengers to go to Colorado Springs (COS) instead of Denver (DEN).

What do you think will be next for COS? Will COS' dream, Southwest actually come eventually? Or will COS be destined to be an under-served airport for the next decade?

Just want to hear your thoughts. Lets not start any wars or anything.


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineUs330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4077 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (14 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 1294 times:

Well, probably because of the fact that two airlines failed miserably with a hub in COS scares some likely sources away. When the recession ends, look for carriers to add service.

User currently offlineAirbus380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 1284 times:

COS could be a breeding ground for jB.

User currently offlineBlink182 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 5493 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (14 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 1279 times:

I am going to agree with US330. Also, DEN and COS are so close to each other that for a smaller carrier, it would only be logical to serve 1 airport, and it would most likely be DEN because there is a market there.

Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11154 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (14 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 1276 times:


A small carrier to start a hub in DEN is suicide. DEN is home to United and Frontier. Also, there is no room available in DEN.

United and Frontier have both taken over most of the market in DEN. Therefore, COS is the logical place to go. Low operating costs, plenty of room, little competition, and #1..............DEMAND.


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineAeroGlobeAir7 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 586 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (14 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 1276 times:

I would love to see Southwest begin operations to COS.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy I live in Kansas City, but my dad and brother and I try to go to Colorado every year, and Colorado Springs is our first stop after the long 10 hour drive across Kansas. I love the city, and I'm willing to bet that Southwest could do well in COS. Considering that their plan is to add services to non-congested, underutilized airports near large population centers. Southwest could draw passengers from all over Colorado, including Denver and the Colorado Springs area. I know of many other smaller cities with people who would willingly drive to COS to take advantage of Southwest's low fares. It could certainly work, take a look at what Southwest did with Islip MacArthur airport in New York. Although Denver isn't an NYC sized city, the market would be ripe for low fare competition. What cities do you think Southwest would establish COS service to, should they start it up? I think the following.........
LAX, LAS, PHX, SAN, SLC, SEA, MCI, MDW, and STL all have chances for service to COS on WN. Houston is another possibility. Kansas City, Chicago, and St. Louis could support the service on the following basis: Chicago is a hub for two major airlines, and a large population base, coupled with the fact that Southwest has a large presence at Midway. Kansas City is not a large hub for anyone, except for Southwest, and has the smallest population of the three cities at nearly 2 million in the KC metro area. Southwest could effectively feed passengers from the east coast onto COS flights through here. St Louis is a major WN city, as well as a hub for TWA, and another city with a large population base.


User currently offlineMah4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 33921 posts, RR: 70
Reply 6, posted (14 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 1264 times:

COS would do well for WN. I could see them flying COS-LAX, COS-LAS, COS-PHX, COS-MDW, COS-OAK, COS-FLL (huge market between South Florida and Colorado), and COS-HOU.

User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11154 posts, RR: 58
Reply 7, posted (14 years 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1260 times:

I agree with the cities listed above, its a shame that they don't fly to LGA though.

A COS-LGA flight really is needed. Western Pacific and AccessAir had this service......


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlinePenguinflies From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 993 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 1243 times:

Western Pacific (the original business plan) will succeed in COS.

A couple of problems with WPAC in COS: Their 737-300s were equipped with -B1 GE(?) engines. Their were two models of engines on the -300, -b1, -b2. WPAC couldn't reach the east coast with their 737-300 equipped with -b1 engines without a payload sacrifice. So they wet leased 727-200s.

Their commuter MAX had to have a 160% load factor for profitablility (see the SEC 10k filing). This drained money.

When WPAC started, people hated DIA, so they would drive the hour on the highway for the lower fares. Then Frontier changed their business plan from small cities from DIA to major markets from DIA. Now, not only did WPAC have to compete with distance from Denver's population, but also another low fare carrier which offered better service.

The board of directors decided to move to DEN because DIA had more traffic then COS. They moved most of their operations and things got worse. Gained market share in exchange for profits. Then went belly up.
With 737-700s, this plan could again succeed, traffic in COS has been increasing since WPAC left the market. CO, HP, and Reno (off the top of my head) have successfully entered COS's market.

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 1238 times:

Penguinflies also failed to mention the failed merger attempt with Frontier, which was a last ditch effort to salvage the airline to an extent and make a little money at the same time. WestPac, like nearly every start-up airline that came out in the early 90s, failed due to the competition from other start-ups, and the competitive actions of the majors. The start-ups dilluted their own markets by saturating certain markets. Atlanta in the mid-90s had three start-ups based out of ATL (Valujet, Kiwi International, and Private Jet), and flights by several others (WestPac, Vanguard, Frontier, ProAir), and flew similar routes, ATL-MCO/MIA/FLL, ATL-NYC (EWR & LGA), ATL-MCI, ATL-DFW, ATL-MDW, and ATL-IAD for examples. This saturation of available seats on routes meant that someone had to be flying these routes at a loss. WestPac and Frontier gave Atlanta a low-fare choice to the west coast, so they were never really affected by the east coast low-fare competitions. WestPac was done in by Frontier's change of business plans. COS could see the return of low-fare service when the economy rebounds. Southwest could be a possiblilty, as could JetBlue or AirTran (who had supposedly signed an agreement in late 1999 with the airport authority at COS to begin flights to COS).

User currently offlineMah4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 33921 posts, RR: 70
Reply 10, posted (14 years 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 1231 times:

Penguin flies, did Western Pacific have both of the engine types, becuase WP did use 733's on thier MIA-COS route. As for jetBlue at COS, not happening. jetBlue serves DEN.

User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4590 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1223 times:

Colorado Springs' stint in the sun as a low-fare hub was a result of high landing fees at DEN when it opened, if I remember right. Several universities and other organizations banned their employees from using DEN, and there was a general hue and cry about the fees and their effect on fares.

Is DEN still such a high-cost airport to use? Frontier seems to do well enough with low fares there.

As long as DEN can attract low-fare service--and Frontier and JetBlue are serious low-fare players--I'd say COS' days as a potential low-fare hub are over. But it's still got a healthy medium-size market base, who would go to their own airport if they could rather than drive to DEN.

AirTran, who seems to specialize in reaching niche airports (TOL, CAK, etc) is probably the best bet. If they signed an agreement to come in 1999, I wonder why they didnt?

There's a market for low fares at COS, but it won't be as a hub. It'll be as a healthy spoke to a hub, which will affect fares to all markets from that hub. COS should not despair, and keep lobbying low-fare carriers.


Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
User currently offlineContrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1845 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1216 times:

COS is a great airport, and one of my favorite destinations.

Nobody has mentioned weather as a factor in using COS as a hub. While the weather there may be better than it is west of there, COS is still subject to crippling snowstorms, isn't it?

WN sounds to me like the best bet for a new hub. They could probably make it work better than anyone else.

Flying Colors Forever!
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11154 posts, RR: 58
Reply 13, posted (14 years 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1197 times:


COS does tend to have worse weather than DEN, however that really shouldn't stop it from not being a hub. Most days in COS are extremely sunny with few scattered clouds.


COS always have and will continue to be a target for start-up airlines. DEN already has PLENTY of flights, there is no reason for a start-up airline to establish a hub in DEN. DEN already has plenty of service, its COS that is in need of flights, and the citizens of Colorado Springs want more flights. However, as Penguinflies, traffic has been steadily increasing in COS ever since WestPac bellyed up.

This July, American Airlines added a 7th flight from DFW to COS. TWA also added a 3rd flight from STL to COS. United also increased frequency between DEN and COS. Last year there used to be 10 flights a day between DEN and COS, a couple on 757 and 727 aircraft, the rest on 737s and United Express.

Now, the largest UA plane from DEN that comes to COS is a 737-300, HOWEVER, frequency has increased to 13 flights per day now. So yes, airlines are beginning to realize that COS is indeed underserved, and are starting to attract COS residents in going to COS instead of DEN.

However, a low-fare carrier will benefit COS more than anything and it is likely we will see one soon as a couple airlines like Southwest, and AirTran want to establish a hub in COS.
The reasons are simple.

Low operating costs, PLENTY of room, and lots of demand.

Regarding DEN, operating costs are still high, but much lower than they used to be. However, the operating costs are not really stopping airlines from serving DEN.


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlinePenguinflies From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 993 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (14 years 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1166 times:

At least the three original aircraft had those older -b1 engines. Aircraft leased after that did have -b2 engines. WPAC did place an order with Boeing for 15 737-700 jets which would have solved that problem.

B727-200 i mention expanded capacity too.

I should have mentioned the merger with Frontier (sorry) but that was after the new ex-Ichan TWA managment began running through WPAC's money faster than SWA can turn an airplane. (that's after Ed stepped down from daily operations). They spent over six million dollars a month when operations were moved to DIA. WPAC then sold seats below cost to get market share, hitting UA and F9 with WPAC's predatory pricing.

For the operations at DEN. It is still the most delayed prone hub airport in UA's system, and one of the worst delayed in the country. Costs were so high that SWA stopped serving the Denver/Colorado Springs market when operations were forced to move to DIA.

Reno said the same thing as SWA. No way getting them to fly DIA. The opted for COS, then were bought out.

You can say that DIA shot itself in the foot regarding low fare service, but you are right, that is all changing now (as compared to 1995).

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