Survey results show business for airport is flying away

Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
POSTED: 12:45 PM MST Nov 18, 2013    UPDATED: 12:49 PM MST Nov 18, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Results from a new survey show two-thirds of potential customers for the Colorado Springs airport are choosing a different airport, its interim aviation director said Monday.

The airport worked with Seabury APG, an airline planning company, to collect information about the southern Colorado travel market.

It spent five months collecting data. It found 66 percent of Pueblo and 50 percent of Colorado Springs travelers flew out Denver International Airport instead Colorado Springs Airport.

The survey estimated there are 1.8 million potential customers in southern Colorado, yet the Colorado Springs airport only serves 660,000 customers.

"From south of Colorado Springs to Pueblo-Trinidad area, we are loosing about two-thirds of all the traffic drive past the Colorado Springs airport to go to Denver," said interim Aviation Director Dan Gallagher.

He said for the first time the airport has concrete information to understand it's market.

"In the past, it was more assumption-based and we had done some marketing analysis in the past, but this was a holistic approach to where our resources should be going for marketing and really to understand where the demand is from the traveling public," said Gallagher.

The data is very specific, even breaking down customer information by ZIP code. It shows where those customers are flying and how much they pay for those flights.

Gallagher said the airport will take this concrete evidence to the airlines to show them the potential customer pool they could tap into with more direct flights and competitive prices.

"That's the evidence we need to talk to the airlines, to talk to them about how strong our market is in southern Colorado and how we are going to build it back," said Gallagher.

It takes 40 minutes from takeoff to touchdown from Colorado Springs Airport to Denver International Airport. It takes one hour and 40 minutes to drive from the Springs airport to DIA. Customers flying out of the Springs said Monday they chose the Colorado Springs airport for convenience, even if it meant they had to change flights in Denver.

"I've flown out of DIA and there are obviously more options in terms of direct flights," said traveler Bill Grier. "It's a tradeoff. Either I'm going to go for the convenience to be able to get here in 10 or 15 minutes, or, I'm going to drive an hour and a half and then have a different type of convenience."

"I just hate driving to Denver. I think it's a hassle. It takes so long, parking is hard and the airport is just so congested and busy," said traveler Gloria Lesher.

"I just don't find it worth the time and Denver is a very difficult airport," said Cris Stone.

Gallagher said the survey results will help the airport come up with a marketing plan to convince people to stop at the Colorado Springs Airport instead of continuing on the trek to Denver for a flight.

The work completed Seabury APG has cost $80,000. Now that the research is almost complete, the airport will start developing a marketing plan.