United Express CRJ-700 operated by SkyWest in Aspen (N724SK)

United Express CRJ-700 operated by SkyWest in Aspen (N724SK)

The beautiful resort town of Aspen! It might be beautiful year round, but most people will associate amazing skiing and snow with the town. To help bring skiers each year, three major airlines served the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, but this ski season, there will only be one.

Frontier Airlines has been serving the town since 2008, using Q400’s. With Frontier’s new parent company, Republic Airways, wanting to phase out the Q400’s, they don’t feel it makes economic sense to fly their Embraer aircraft to the resort town.Frontier were trying to sell tickets over the winter to prove the route could be profitable, but they have decided to discontinue service as of September 30th.

Delta flew to Aspen from Salt Lake City and Atlanta and feel continuing the flights just doesn’t make economic sense.
Just because only one airline remains, don’t assume Aspen will turn into a ghost town. Even with the departure of Frontier and Delta, the town will only be losing 20% of their seating capacity. United Express will still be flying 12 daily flights from Denver this winter as well as three each from Chicago and Los Angeles and one daily from San Francisco.

The airport is planning a 1000 foot runway expansion in an effort to lure back Frontier and Delta. Since both airlines don’t see the economics with the smaller aircraft they are flying now, I am not quite sure how a longer runway will increase possible passenger loads.

Source: Denver Business Journal Image: Carrera Turbo

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

VIDEO and PICTURES: Cargolux Boeing 747-8 (N5573S) Takes off from Paine Field

Longer runway means larger planes. If the economies of scale work out, it may be profitable for Frontier to send in an EMB-190 or A319 rather than a Q400. Same for Delta. One thing’s for sure…I bet the cost of a ticket to Aspen will be a heck of a bit more this year….

I would think having less flights with larger planes either in the early morning or late evening would work out best in a resort town. No question that United and their regional operators will benefit from this move. Aspen has seen a lot of different airlines come and go, so I am guessing that someone else will join United soon, unless United ups their service to the city.


Drew V.

Bring back the Mighty 727!!!! The vid proves you can land it at Meigs Field. Why not here in Aspen?

I don’t think the economics of flying a 727 to ASE will workout, when they are pulling out with Q400’s and regional jets 🙂


David, do you have any idea if Horizon would be interested in picking up the Q400s from Republic/Frontier as my understanding is that they ultimately would like to be an all-Q400 operation?

Also do you know whether Frontier owned or leased the aircraft?

Enjoy Oshkosh!

Good question Greg!

Let me try and find out.


Hey Greg, this is the reponce I got from Horizon:

“Horizon Air is committed to having a single fleet of Q400s. We currently have 40 Q400s and another 8 on order, with 10 options. While most of our aircraft were purchased new, a few were used by other operators prior to joining our fleet. We don’t comment publicly on such transactions until they are completed.”

Take that as you will, but this will be something I will be looking out for! Thanks for pointing it out.


I used to fly with Delta from Aspen and the cabin crew and flight was always great.

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