Mar 28, 2013 8:42 PM by Andy Koen
COLORADO SPRINGS - There aren't many planes parked at the gates at the Colorado Springs Airport and inside there's no wait at the ticket counters. It is the slow season, but this year is going "slower" than previous years.
In 2003, 1,068,157 passengers flew from Colorado Springs. With Frontier Airlines leaving next month, the projections for this year are 690,204.
"I'm kind of worried," said Edith Castro. She and her husband Frank came up from Pueblo to pick up their grandson for Spring Break. "Some of the airlines that have already dropped their flights, it's a concern."
When they travel, Frank says they prefer the Colorado Springs Airport to Denver.
"We don't mind paying the little higher fares because of the convenience," Frank said. "We're both retired and we do travel a lot."
The trouble is, not enough travelers see things the way the Castros do. As the airport struggles, it also puts local businesses at risk.
Bristol Brewing opened their new Taproom restaurant at the airport a few months ago. General Manager Tom Zurenko says, so far, their beer business is doing well.
"It kind of worries us I guess in one sense, but not really because we've tried to create a real positive image, we're trying to create and develop things for the airport," Zurenko said.
They brewer is working with the airport to validate parking for customers in order to draw out the local lunch crowd.
"There really isn't a lot of restaurants out in the area so one of the things we're hoping to is draw more business into the airport for the lunch business."
The city dismissed airport director Mark Earle last week and is currently looking for a new marketing plan.
Luring new airlines to Colorado Springs prove challenging as the industry itself still struggling to recover from September 11th terror attacks more than a decade ago.