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Frontier could land in Gypsum

Preston Utley/Daily file photoA subsidiary of Frontier Airlines may soon start flying into Eagle County Regional Airport
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GYPSUM ” The Eagle County airport soon may be getting its own Lynx introduction program.

Local businesses are trying to lure Lynx Aviation, a new division of Frontier Airlines, to fly into the Eagle County Regional Airport.

Frontier will choose nine to 12 regional airports that Lynx will connect with Denver, said Joe Hodas, spokesman for Frontier.

Sixty-two airports have applied to be selected, and a decision will be made in the next week or two, Hodas said.

The year-round service would bolster the number of flights coming into Eagle’s airport. United is now the only airline that flies into the airport year-round.

“The more people you have getting off planes, ideally the more people you have going into restaurants, … staying in hotels,” said Michael Robinson, president of the Vail Valley Partnership, which is coordinating the bid. “The more people we can get to this destination, the better off we’re all going to be.”

Kent Myers, an airline consultant who is helping with the bid, said he was confident that Frontier would select the Eagle County airport.

“It’s not a question of if, but when,” he said.

Service could start this winter but may be delayed until next summer, he said.

“I would say that I’m confident that Vail will have service on Frontier in the next 12 months,” he said.

The Eagle County community has put together an incentive package to woo the airline. The package is probably worth about $180,000, Robinson said.

Glenwood Spring has contributed $40,000 in “in-kind” services to help the Gypsum airport. Aspen has offered $100,000 if its airport is selected.

But the incentives aren’t a primary factor in the decision, Hodas said.

“The incentive package is one of those pieces that can be a tiebreaker between a couple of markets,” Hodas said. “Our goal is not to take money. It’s to create a route, a service that’s profitable from itself.”

The addition of Frontier would bring a low-fare carrier to the Eagle County airport, said Ian Arthur, vice president of marketing and sales for Vail and Beaver Creek mountains.

It would also make Eagle County’s ski resorts more competitive in the West, Arthur said.

“Frontier’s planned West Coast routes include L.A., which is a top skiing market and obviously a large population base,” Arthur said.

Lynx Aviation will operate 70-seat Bombadier Q400 turbo-prop jets.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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