Mar 16, 2021 - Business

Colorado's fun-factor will drive post-pandemic air travel

Data: Denver International Airport; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Denver International Airport; Chart: Axios Visuals

Interest in flying again — particularly for leisure, not business — is beginning to soar.

Driving the news: Airlines across the country are capitalizing on people wanting to get out of Dodge by adding more flight routes to places people want to go for fun, including Colorado, the Washington Post reports.

  • Southwest Airlines is investing heavily in markets with sun and snow, extending the timeline for its service to Steamboat and Telluride and adding Colorado Springs.
  • Denver-based Frontier Airlines is expanding its services to offer 60 nonstop routes from Orlando.

By the numbers: Passenger traffic has climbed steadily at Denver International Airport since the initial COVID-19 shutdown, officials report.

  • Yes, but: Levels still plunged by 51% in 2020 and remain down by about 30%.
  • It remained the third-busiest airport in the U.S., DIA officials report.

Be smart: The CDC released new guidelines but didn't make adjustments to travel guidance because most Americans remain unvaccinated, Axios reports.

  • Nevertheless, airlines are actively rerouting their planes from business meeting hotspots like D.C. and New York to accommodate a surge of people eager to escape into the outdoors.

What they're saying: "Our strong domestic market resulted in a slightly faster rebound than predicted," DIA CEO Kim Day told Axios in a statement.

Denver was the largest station in the fourth quarter of 2020 for multiple major carriers, including Frontier and Southwest.

My thought bubble: I flew this month for the first time in over a year. I felt like I had made a mistake the moment I walked into a crowded DIA.

  • People still don’t understand how to social distance or wear their mask properly, despite being a year into this.
  • I don’t plan to fly again anytime soon.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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