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Frontier Airlines, which folded its Colorado Springs operations in 2013, is returning service to the El Paso County city.

Denver-based Frontier will run a daily flight between Colorado Springs Airport and Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport starting April 14, the ultra-low-cost carrier's officials said Tuesday.

"Denver-Las Vegas is our most popular market; we think there's a demand for Colorado Springs," airline spokesman Jim Faulkner said. "We'll continue to work with our partners in Colorado Springs to look at other possible opportunities."

When Frontier pulled out in 2013, citing dwindling bookings on its nonstop flights to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego and Orlando, Fla., it was a huge blow to the Colorado Springs airport.

The airline accounted for 20 to 35 percent of the annual traffic, said Dan Gallagher, director of aviation for the Colorado Springs Airport. That represented a $2 million loss in revenues that was compounded a budget that had grown $3 million that year.

"It definitely altered the marketplace, but it also had to alter our business mode," Gallagher said.


The airport restructured its debt and reined in operating expenses, making it cheaper for airlines to operate there. The airport also overhauled its business model by establishing an incentive-based program to drum up commercial aeronautical industry activity.

Since then, the airport has developed new hangar space and landed a 2,100-person division of aerospace firm Sierra Nevada Corp., Gallagher said.

Frontier is the Colorado Springs Airport's first new service announcement since March 2014, when Allegiant Air said it would bring back nonstop flights.

"We hope that this is a picture of just the hard work that's been taking place over the last couple years to better position ourselves," he said.

In addition to the return to Colorado Springs, Frontier said it will begin daily nonstop service between Denver and San Antonio on May 13, Denver and Columbus, Ohio, on May 31, and Denver and Pittsburgh on June 16.

Frontier also is adding three other direct routes from Columbus, four from Pittsburgh and three from San Antonio.

Frontier's introductory fares will start between $19 and $69 one-way for the Colorado Springs and Denver flights with additional discounts available via the Works, Frontier's bundled service package.

The service additions follow Frontier's announcement last week that it would add 42 nonstop routes to markets including Philadelphia, Kansas City, Houston and Phoenix.

Frontier's boost in routes comes as the carrier brings 18 new airplanes to its fleet. Frontier plans to retire nine aircraft in 2016 and should end the year at 64 planes, a net increase of nine.

Additional capacity for the new markets will come from shifting seasonal flights and reducing frequency in markets where Frontier runs multiple flights daily, Faulkner said.

Frontier has not pulled out of a market entirely, Faulkner said.

Alicia Wallace: 303-954-1939, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @aliciawallace

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