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Marketing effort boosts passenger numbers at Colorado Springs Airport

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By Wayne Heilman, Colorado Springs Gazette

Published: December 18, 2014

Passenger numbers at the Colorado Springs Airport in October jumped from a year ago by the biggest percentage in nearly seven years as a marketing campaign aimed at leisure and business travelers in Houston, Seattle and Illinois paid big dividends.Passenger traffic for the month was up 9.7 percent from October 2013 to 55,450, the biggest year-over-year increase for any month since February 2008.

The October traffic gain also was the third consecutive monthly rise and the fourth in the past five months, but passenger numbers for the first 10 months of the year are still down 4.7 percent, to 524,103. The five airlines serving the Springs sold 82.6 percent of the seats available in October, up from 75.4 percent in October 2013. That's a slight drop from July's figure of 83.1 percent, which was the biggest traffic month so far this year for the airport. "It is a result of a renewed marketing effort and shows we are filling more of the remaining seats even as airlines reduce capacity in this market as a result of the industry's consolidation," said Dan Gallagher, the airport's director.

The airport expanded its marketing program earlier this year, targeting cities with nonstop flights from the Springs. Alaska Airlines began nonstop flights between the Springs and Seattle in November 2013, and United has daily nonstop flights to Chicago and Houston.The increases that began in May ended 15 consecutive months of traffic declines from the same month a year earlier.The plummeting numbers were caused by Denver-based Frontier Airlines halting service to Colorado Springs in April 2013. Traffic fell last year to a 22-year low.