Jul 16, 2013 3:20 PM by Maddie Garrett
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach announced Tuesday morning the formation of the Airport Air Service Task Force, charged with bringing in more affordable and direct flights to Colorado Springs Airport.
Bach said there one of the key elements in accomplishing this is to get costs down at the airport itself. He said that could mean a reduction in work force. Bach said one example is the parking management department, which currently has 43 full time employees. That is the same number of employees the airport had a few years ago, at the height of the number of boardings. However, boardings are now down 40% and Bach said the airport may not need as many full time employees in the parking department.
"We have to get the affordability here, we can't be asking people to be spending double or whatever on an air ticket," said Bach.
He also said the airport will not be filling some vacant positions and is changing some landscaping to zerascape, which requires less water. Bach said by keeping costs down, the airport will be able to reduce landing fees it has to charge airlines.
Both Bach, and the task force's chairman, Bill Hybl, said they hope to bring in new airlines to Colorado Springs. When asked about Frontier, which recently left the COS airport, Bach said he hopes they can reconvene conversations with the airline. The task force will also be looking at trying to add more flights.
Bach said another way they hope to attract new airlines is by offering incentives. One way of doing that is offering "seat guarantees" to airlines flying to a new destination that has not been traditionally accessible through COS. The guarantee would be paid for through the city's tourism bureau using the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART).
Bach and Hybl said they hope to encourage airlines to take a fresh look at Colorado Springs, and the Airport Air Service Task Force will be thinking outside of the box to accomplish its goals. The task force hopes to make its recommendations to the city by the end of the year.
"We hope to make a difference and certainly everyone would benefit in the southern colorado area," said Hybl.
The group will be led by Bill Hybl, CEO of the El Pomar Foundation. The task force also includes: Steve Bartolin, Chairman and CEO of the Broadmoor, Scott Blackmun, CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, General Victor Renuart, retired Air Force four star general and Pamela Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor of UCCS.