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Chuska
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United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:10 pm

According to the Farmington Daily Times, SkyWest, operating as United Express, has signed a two year contract with the city of Farmington to return commercial service to the Four Corners Regional Airport. Service is planned to begin on October 15, 2020 with one daily flight to Denver using a CRJ-200. This will be a revenue guarantee with funds coming from an FAA grant and several other sources. SkyWest has also made provisions to compensate for the current slump in traffic. The Four Corners Regional Airport has recently completed runway upgrades now allowing for the operation of regional jets. FMN had previously been served with United Express flights to Denver from 1986 through 2002 by Aspen Airways, Mesa Airlines, and Great Lakes Aviation. During its heyday in the 1990's, FMN also saw Continental Express service to Denver, American Eagle to DFW and LAX, and America West Express, later US Airways Express, to PHX and LAS. Mesa Air also had an impressive independent operation with hourly flights to ABQ. As regional jets replaced turboprops in the 2000's, FMN saw its service fade away. Great Lakes was the final carrier to serve FMN operating under their own brand until the carrier shut down over two years ago.
 
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scbriml
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:27 pm

I had a business trip to Farmington some years ago. I flew to Phoenix by BA and then a Great Lakes Be-1900 to Farmington. I then had a quick weekend break in Phoenix so another two legs on Great Lakes. My biggest surprise was landing at Farmington because I thought we were somewhat high when the crew called out short final, before I realised the airport is on top of a mesa.

BTW, Farmington was the first place I visited in America where it seemed nearly everyone was either a Native American or a cowboy!
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FRNT787
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:35 pm

That's good for FMN. I used the Great Lakes Beech 1900 PRC-FMN-DEN service a couple times to route on to Frontier flying to DFW. They were fun flights and I was always surprised when they would add fuel on at FMN. Getting out on the busy Great Lakes ramp at DEN was interesting as well.
 
sprxUSA
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:29 pm

Good for FMN. Driving from Texas to Idaho in 2018, I went to FMN and looked at terminal and was trying to envision when Frontier I flew Convairs into there, and Mesa's beginnings.
Gem State Airlines..."we have a gem of an airline"
 
Chuska
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:27 pm

Yes, Frontier had a small hub at FMN serving the four corners states in the 1950's and 1960's and for a couple years in the early 80's, they had upgraded to 737's but they were so weight restricted that they had to stop in DRO for fuel. After FL collapsed, Aspen took over the DEN service and even flew BAe-146's on occasion. Thanks so much to SkyWest for bringing service back to abandoned cities.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:00 pm

Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.
 
TWA902fly
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:15 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.


I used to live right near CEZ, so I know the area pretty well. I think FMN has a large enough catchment area that it can support a daily CRJ-200. There is a lot of natural gas exploration, although other than that the area is pretty poor. I don't think it's much different of a situation than DIK supporting 2x/day ERJs at a time when ISN had 3x to DEN and 3x to MSP. I also remember a time when Mesa flew CRJ-900s into FMN.

Also, yes that drive to DRO is a lure, which is about 70 minutes to DRO airport by the way, but we're really only talking about 1x CRJ-200 that is subsidized. The Farmington/Aztec/Bloomfield area does have its own decently-sized population, definitely no smaller than many other cities where SkyWest provides at-risk service.

Just my two cents. I wish them success either way.

'902
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Chuska
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:00 pm

Last time I was at DRO I noticed at least half of the cars in the parking lot had NM plates, appears that many people are driving to DRO and it will be great to see FMN keep their own traffic. The news article did mention that if the flight does do well, a second flight will be added. I don't know why UA would add an eighth flight on the DRO-DEN route on a day like Tuesday, normally they run six or seven on the route. That was BC (before covid) so I doubt they'll be even six flights on DRO-DEN this October.
 
DLASFlyer
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:14 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.


Pretty amazing UA can support 8x daily DEN-DRO but DL doesn’t even do 1x SLC-DRO.
 
N212R
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:18 pm

Farmington has a significant LDS population pushing the growth...must expand the Empire.

You will note there is also a Farmington, "suburb" of SLC.
 
durangomac
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:07 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.


I have no idea what they are banking on. In March there was an article in the Farmington Times about how the restrictions from pandemic on the area where just making the death of Farmington much faster because the oil and gas industry is pulling out of the area and the power plant and coal industry are also pulling out. I grew up in Durango and if all those issues with the oil & gas are true then Farmington is going to be a much smaller city than when I lived in the area.

So it's about 1 hour and some change to drive the DRO and then ABQ is about 2 hours. I honestly don't see FNM being able to attract enough traffic to keep the flights beyond 2 years, I could be wrong but I don't see the traffic happening.
 
Chuska
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:26 am

As feared, it was announced on Jul 20 that the start date of Oct. 15 for FMN-DEN has been pushed back til Spring 2021. This is very similar to the arrangement SkyWest has to bring United Express service back to SMX (Santa Maria, CA). That service was due to start in June but was also pushed back til Spring 2021.
 
deltairlines
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:10 am

DLASFlyer wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.


Pretty amazing UA can support 8x daily DEN-DRO but DL doesn’t even do 1x SLC-DRO.


It probably helps UA that DEN-DRO is over a six hour drive through the Rockies in ideal weather; add in winter and that number becomes much larger. Even without the geography and weather potential, six hours is a long drive to the capital city - I'm sure that helps drive some of the demand.

Delta also historically hasn't been huge in the Southern part of the Mountain time zone as well. DEN and PHX have had good service, but pre-COVID, COS was only 2x/day CRJ-200, ASE was a 1x/CR7, ELP has been on and off and TUS hasn't had a ton of service. There really hasn't been any other service into Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona from Delta for as long as I can remember.

AA has grown quite a bit in this space too with them getting the PHX hub from the US merger and DFW being a good hub for Eastern flow from the Colorado/Arizona/New Mexico markets.
 
Alias1024
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:13 am

deltairlines wrote:
DLASFlyer wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.


Pretty amazing UA can support 8x daily DEN-DRO but DL doesn’t even do 1x SLC-DRO.


It probably helps UA that DEN-DRO is over a six hour drive through the Rockies in ideal weather; add in winter and that number becomes much larger. Even without the geography and weather potential, six hours is a long drive to the capital city - I'm sure that helps drive some of the demand.

Delta also historically hasn't been huge in the Southern part of the Mountain time zone as well. DEN and PHX have had good service, but pre-COVID, COS was only 2x/day CRJ-200, ASE was a 1x/CR7, ELP has been on and off and TUS hasn't had a ton of service. There really hasn't been any other service into Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona from Delta for as long as I can remember.

AA has grown quite a bit in this space too with them getting the PHX hub from the US merger and DFW being a good hub for Eastern flow from the Colorado/Arizona/New Mexico markets.


ABQ has been 3 daily to SLC previous summers. Before COVID this year’s summer schedule was x1 A319 and x2 E175. They also had planned x3 E175 to LAX, x3 A321 to ATL, and x1 A320 to MSP.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
deltairlines
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:08 am

Alias1024 wrote:
deltairlines wrote:
DLASFlyer wrote:

Pretty amazing UA can support 8x daily DEN-DRO but DL doesn’t even do 1x SLC-DRO.


It probably helps UA that DEN-DRO is over a six hour drive through the Rockies in ideal weather; add in winter and that number becomes much larger. Even without the geography and weather potential, six hours is a long drive to the capital city - I'm sure that helps drive some of the demand.

Delta also historically hasn't been huge in the Southern part of the Mountain time zone as well. DEN and PHX have had good service, but pre-COVID, COS was only 2x/day CRJ-200, ASE was a 1x/CR7, ELP has been on and off and TUS hasn't had a ton of service. There really hasn't been any other service into Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona from Delta for as long as I can remember.

AA has grown quite a bit in this space too with them getting the PHX hub from the US merger and DFW being a good hub for Eastern flow from the Colorado/Arizona/New Mexico markets.


ABQ has been 3 daily to SLC previous summers. Before COVID this year’s summer schedule was x1 A319 and x2 E175. They also had planned x3 E175 to LAX, x3 A321 to ATL, and x1 A320 to MSP.


I didn't realize SLC was that low. I knew ATL in the past has been a mix of MD-90/A32x/757 at 3x/day, MSP was off and on and LAX was relatively new, but thought SLC was 5x/day for some reason.

My first time ever to ABQ happened to be on a DL 757 diverted on ATL-LAS. We had a sick FA but were able to get a local FA to work the ABQ-LAS leg and we were on the ground for less than an hour.
 
HNLSLCPDX
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:47 am

There are hardly in cultural ties or any major business ties connecting Utah and New Mexico.

Also I hope this route is a success and hopefully UA/OO look into adding more airports to DEN out west such as BTM, PVU, TWF, and LWS.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:09 pm

TWA902fly wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.



Also, yes that drive to DRO is a lure, which is about 70 minutes to DRO airport by the way, but we're really only talking about 1x CRJ-200 that is subsidized. The Farmington/Aztec/Bloomfield area does have its own decently-sized population, definitely no smaller than many other cities where SkyWest provides at-risk service.


One-a-day just doesn't compete well with 8 (or 7 or 6) a day. There's no choice of departure/arrival time. There's no fallback plan for weather. There's no fallback for IDB due to weight and balance (and DOT regs don't require compensation for IDB for weight and balance for aircraft with 60 or fewer seats). You give up a lot of hub connectivity with just 1x. DRO has two carriers so at least there's a little fare competition (and AA to DFW is another great hubbing option).

Why do people from northern Rhode Island drive to BOS (and put up with all the BS that is Logan) instead of flying from PVD? Non-stop destination count, frequency, and fare competition.
 
phxsanslcpdx
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:27 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
TWA902fly wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
Are they banking on demand from gas exploration? (It can't be coal.) Are they excited just to burn money thru the allowed FAA guarantee/subsidy period? I understand people may be happy to save the 50-mile drive to DRO, but DRO-DEN is showing 8x on an October Tuesday. Frequency to a hub has a lot of value.



Also, yes that drive to DRO is a lure, which is about 70 minutes to DRO airport by the way, but we're really only talking about 1x CRJ-200 that is subsidized. The Farmington/Aztec/Bloomfield area does have its own decently-sized population, definitely no smaller than many other cities where SkyWest provides at-risk service.


One-a-day just doesn't compete well with 8 (or 7 or 6) a day. There's no choice of departure/arrival time. There's no fallback plan for weather. There's no fallback for IDB due to weight and balance (and DOT regs don't require compensation for IDB for weight and balance for aircraft with 60 or fewer seats). You give up a lot of hub connectivity with just 1x. DRO has two carriers so at least there's a little fare competition (and AA to DFW is another great hubbing option).

Why do people from northern Rhode Island drive to BOS (and put up with all the BS that is Logan) instead of flying from PVD? Non-stop destination count, frequency, and fare competition.


Granted. But of course, DRO is no BOS. Farmington folks who want to fly to PHX or DFW or who value the higher frequency at DRO are likely to drive there, but there should also be some real demand for the added convenience of local flights.

Traffic for Window Rock/Fort Defiance/St. Michaels (which includes Dine College, Navajo Nation government, and BIA facilities) will help supplement demand at Farmington. ABQ will still carry the lion's share of Window Rock traffic, I'm sure. But if you have to change planes anyway, the shorter distance, lower hassle, and lack of traffic makes Farmington a compelling alternative.
 
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Frontier14
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:19 pm

I believe I am correct when I say this, during the 1990s and early 2000s Midwest and Great Lakes ran their Beech 1900s back and forth between FMN and DEN three to four times a day. Granted the oil exploration business was hopping then, but the demand will be there if the flights are scheduled right.

Frontier 14
 
N212R
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Re: United Express to return to Farmington, New Mexico

Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:11 pm

HNLSLCPDX wrote:
There are hardly in cultural ties or any major business ties connecting Utah and New Mexico.


Hardly any of the 70,000+ LDS members who live in NM have "cultural" ties to Utah? Or as Wikipedia says...

"Mormons first came to New Mexico in 1846. The LDS Church has traditionally had a strong presence in the Four Corners (Farmington) Region of New Mexico, settling the town of Kirtland and other surrounding areas."

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