August/September Business View Magazine

126 127 it was flying to 35 different destinations. They also offered what they called ‘mystery flights.’ They were something like, $37. You’d show up with your bag and they’d tell you that you were going to a warm place or a cold place and you’d get on the airplane. They had flights like that – fun, unique, interesting. Unfortunately, the finan- cial model didn’t work and after three years, they ended up moving to Denver (International Air- port), and that’s where they went bankrupt.” According to Phillips,WestPac’s failed “great experiment” was the beginning of a long slide downward for the Airport. Things began to look up in 2012, when Frontier Airlines, another low- cost carrier, attempted to build a major presence at Colorado Springs, with new, nonstop service to a number of U.S destinations, in addition to its daily flights to its Denver hub.Within a year, however, Frontier discontinued all of its service, citing poor performance on both its old and new routes. “2015 marked the nadir of commercial service,” Phillips remarks. “Our low point in ’15 was 595,000 enplanements.” Luckily, Frontier returned in 2016 with nonstop service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Orlando. In 2017, it announced seven new seasonal destina- tions: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego,Washington D.C., Ft. Myers, and Tampa. And the long slide was finally over. “In 2016, we saw 10.6 percent total growth,” Phillips reports. “In 2017, we saw 29.5 percent growth, marking the largest percentage growth of any of the top 150 airports in the country.We’re up almost another 20 percent, so far, for 2018, and we’re project- ing about 950,000 enplanements for the year. So, we’ve seen a ton of growth, again, this year.” In addition to Frontier, Colorado Springs is also served by American, Delta, and United Airlines. THE COLORADO SPRINGS AIRPORT BRETT MILLER   TROY STOVER GREG PHILLIPS On the corporate and general aviation side, Phillips says that things have also gotten “really exciting in the last few years.We have two FBOs,” he continues, “Cutter Aviation and Colorado Jet Center. Cutter Aviation just built a brand new general aviation terminal – a beautiful facility. We have other tenants that occupy the corporate and GA side; one of them is the Sierra Nevada Corporation. It’s a multi-billion dollar, national corporation that does a ton of defense work. They have a significant presence at Centennial Airport in Colorado, but they’ve tapped out the available space there, and so they’re now building at Col- orado Springs. They built a 60,000-square-foot hangar that opened last August, big enough to put two 737s in at the same time. They are do- ing the earthwork, right now, to build a second 60,000-square-foot hangar. And they have a third