This year is on track to be the busiest of all time for airline passenger traffic at Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO). Airline traffic year-to-date through November was 1.3% higher than in 2019, when the previous record was established. This is despite the first quarter of 2021 being down more than 30% from 2019 as pandemic conditions weighed on demand. Traffic recovery began in earnest in the spring, with monthly records for passenger traffic set June through November.
Major projects in 2022
Two major capital projects are planned for 2022 at DRO.
DRO will conduct a runway rehabilitation project in September that will close the airport to all commercial airline traffic for a 10-day period. Scheduled dates for the runway closure are Wednesday, Sept. 7 through Friday, Sept. 16. All commercial flights in and out of DRO will be unavailable during that time while the airport’s sole runway is re-paved. This important asphalt maintenance project will extend the life of the runway surface, ensuring safe and uninterrupted airport operations at DRO can continue for years before additional runway maintenance is required.
Last September, the airport initiated a formal design process to renovate and expand current airport terminal facilities. Design is anticipated to occur through late 2022, with an initial phase of construction planned to occur in late 2022 or early 2023. The first phase of expansion will likely focus on post-screening airline gate and hold room space where passengers wait prior to boarding flights. This area is currently a significant pinch point for the airport and is also where passengers spend the most time inside the terminal. Learn more about the project.
Frontier Airlines schedule updates
Frontier Airlines will pause seasonal Durango to Denver (DEN) service Jan. 4 to April 28, 2022. In spring of 2021, Frontier announced seasonal service to Denver would run from early June through mid-September. However, Frontier twice extended the seasonal flight schedule between DRO and Denver through early January. Frontier service to Denver is anticipated to resume on April 28. Daily nonstop service to Denver will continue to be available on United Airlines. Frontier nonstop service from DRO to Las Vegas (LAS) will continue uninterrupted twice per week, Mondays and Fridays, year-round.
Airport parking rate increase
Effective Jan. 1, the daily maximum parking fee at DRO will increase from $7 to $8. The increase applies to visitors’ first week of parking. Visitors parking for more than seven days will pay a reduced fee of $6 per day after the first week. The airport will also extend the free parking window from 30 minutes to 60 minutes to allow visitors more time for pickups and drop offs. DRO has not increased parking fees since 2013.
“The increase in driven by the need to maintain sustainable revenues to support the airport’s operations,” Aviation Director Tony Vicari said. “The airport is completely self-sustaining financially and parking revenue is a key source of funding for the airport both in terms of managing daily operations and investing in capital improvements. Like any business, we need to occasionally increase prices to keep up with rising costs of operation. With this increase, the most that any customer will pay above current rates is $7 should they remain parked for a full week.”
More updates and reminders
- The airport is well prepared for winter snow removal operations. Airport staff work long hours to keep runways, parking lots, roadways, and sidewalks clear of snow and ice and safe for the traveling public.
- Travelers are highly encouraged to arrive at the airport two hours prior to scheduled departures during the holidays. This will allow plenty of time to navigate fuller parking lots, and longer airline ticket counter lines and security lines.
- Be sure holiday gifts are TSA compliant. Wait to wrap gifts until you arrive at your destination; TSA may need to unwrap anything that appears suspicious. The 3.4-ounce liquid limit for carry-on bags still applies to gifts.
About Durango-La Plata County Airport
Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO) is the primary regional airport for Southwest Colorado, Northwest New Mexico, and the entire Four Corners region. DRO welcomed over 390,000 passengers in 2019 and contributes over $290 million annually to the regional economy. DRO is served by three major U.S. airlines (American, Frontier, and United), offering year-round daily nonstop routes to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), and Phoenix (PHX), twice-weekly nonstop service to Las Vegas (LAS), and seasonal nonstop service to Los Angeles (LAX).
DRO operates as an enterprise fund of the City of Durango and generates self-sustaining revenue from airport tenants and users in the form of airline rent and landing fees, terminal concessions, ground leases, and parking fees. The airport does not receive any local tax funding.
Learn more about the Durango-La Plata County Airport at FlyDurango.com. Follow us on social media at twitter.com/DROAirport and facebook.com/DROAirport