Will nearby airport compete with DIA? | VailDaily.com

Will nearby airport compete with DIA?

DENVER ” The board of Front Range Airport has voted to pursue passenger airlines, overturning a 15-year policy.

The general aviation airport owned by Adams County is 5 miles southeast of Denver International Airport, the nation’s fifth busiest. If Front Range Airport does lure passenger service, it could create competition for DIA for business and for Federal Aviation Administration support and funding.

“We’re all competing for limited federal funds,” said DIA manager Turner West. “Diluting (the amount of available airport funding) would not be good public policy.”

Front Range aviation director Dennis Heap said an inquiry last year from budget airline Skybus Airlines about operating at Front Range “opened our eyes” about the possibility that passenger service could drive the airport’s growth.

Heap said the airport would target carriers with planes weighing up to 130,000 pounds.

Front Range would have to strengthen its two runways to accommodate frequent passenger service with the Boeing 737 or Airbus 319, construct a passenger terminal and develop security systems.

The airport also would need certification from the FAA to operate scheduled passenger flights with planes of more than 30 seats, Heap said.

The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/

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