SkyWest recently requested the termination of 31 Essential Air Service (EAS) contracts, and the process of refilling those contracts has reached the…
Denver Air Connection Announces 14th, 15th Destinations
Denver Air Connection — more commonly known as DAC — is a Colorado-based airline that has pushed a rapid expansion over the past two years and is showing no signs of slowing down. The carrier has announced two new destinations, both of which are located in the carrier’s home state and are part of the Essential Air Service program: Alamosa and Cortez, Colo.
Alamosa was part of the mass community termination request by SkyWest back in March 2022 and was already in the midst of the EAS bidding process, so they hurried that city along within the process, and the decision took place on May 13. As of then, the Department of Transportation is giving the carrier less than a month to get stuff ready for a planned start date of June 8.
Alamosa will be served with 12 weekly flights to Denver International Airport using either a 30-seat Dornier 328Jet or a 50-seat Embraer E145. Which aircraft serves the community will depend on demand, regular maintenance schedules and other factors.
The contract will begin on June 8 and will run for just over two years until June 30, 2024, at an annual subsidy rate of $5,242,836. They will be taking the contract from SkyWest which runs the flights under the United Express branding.
Cortez, Colo. will begin a little bit later, on Oct. 1, and will have the contract run for two years until Sept. 30, 2024. This contract will be flown using the nine-seat Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner to both Denver and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. DAC will be taking the Cortez contract from San Francisco-based Boutique Air.
A once dying breed for passenger flights in the U.S. just two years ago, the Metroliner will now have a third and fourth route it will operate on. This will also bring the Metroliner to its second major airport, Sky Harbor. Those in Phoenix will now see the Metroliner on an almost daily basis come the fall of 2022.
While Phoenix is not new for Denver Air Connection, it will now become a year-round destination as before it was only served during the winter months from Telluride, Colo. Cortez will see 24 weekly flights with DAC, having 12 flights to both Denver and Phoenix. The subsidy rate will be $6,410,791 for the first year and $6,603,115 for the second year.
DAC’s route map is looking similar to another frequent EAS carrier. Nine of the 15 destinations the airline serves are part of the EAS program, and seven of them used to belong to Boutique Air. Alliance, Neb; McCook, Neb.; Ironwood, Mich.; Thief River Falls, Minn.; Clovis, N.M.; Cortez, Colo. and Alamosa, Colo. are all former Boutique Air EAS contracts. The Alamosa contract briefly belonged to SkyWest for a year and a half after Boutique Air, but the rest of them Denver Air Connection has taken directly from the San Francisco-based airline.
Passengers will be able to enjoy interline and baggage agreements with both United and American, so depending on what direction Cortez passengers are heading, they can choose the airline they connect with.
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