Cheyenne adds first national

New options for flying:
Cheyenne adds first national
carrier

by pat ferrier • PatFerrier@coloradoan.com •
June 20, 2010

CHEYENNE — It’s 8 a.m. Great Lakes Airlines Flight
5022 is buttoned up ready for takeoff, its twin
turboprop engines ascending to a roar.

Inside, the Cheyenne Regional Airport terminal is
silent save the whirring of an overhead fan and the
hushed voice of a CNN anchor on TV in the Cloud
Nine restaurant.

A lone police officer sits in the airport “substation”
— no more than a 10-by-10 box with a half wall —
looking bored.

Activity won’t pick up for another couple hours
when Great Lakes gets ready for its third flight of the
day from Cheyenne to Denver.

Currently, Great Lakes is the only commercial airline
flying out of Jerry Olson Field in the heart of
Cheyenne. It’s popular with business travelers who c
an hop a plane for the 30-minute flight to Denver
International Airport and connections beyond
Denver, Airport Manager Dave Haring said.

In less than a month — July 15 — Cheyenne will
welcome American Eagle, a wholly owned subsidiary
of American Airlines, with two flights a day to
Dallas-Fort Worth.
It will be the first time in history that this tiny airport
40 miles north of Fort Collins will offer a national
carrier, Haring said.

With a one-year $1.4 million revenue guarantee and
the expectations of a city behind it, American Eagle
is advertising its new service in Northern Colorado
hoping Fort Collins and Wellington residents will fly
out of Cheyenne rather than fight traffic, crowds at
DIA, long security lines and expensive parking.

Parking at Cheyenne Regional is free, it’s a two-
minute walk, at most, from the parking lot to ticket
counter, yards from the ticket counter to security
and with a 44-seat plane, security lines are short.

It’s an airport where passengers still walk from the
terminal on to the tarmac and up the airplane’s
stairs. No fancy jet ways, no spacious holding areas
waiting to board.
“It’s much more convenient, not as many lines and
not as many customers, either,” American
spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said. “Essentially,
from car to gate it is much less time and more
convenient.”

Because of its size, travelers don’t need to be at the
airport two hours ahead of time — an hour will do,
she said.

“Generally, with smaller airports it doesn’t take as
much time to maneuver. You park basically at the
gate and can be inside and at your gate in 20
minutes or so,” she said.

Is it enough?

Whether free parking and shorter lines is enough to
entice Northern Colorado travelers to perhaps pay a
bit more per ticket is the airline’s gamble.

Travel agent Heather Moss of Bon Voyage Travel,
825 S. Shields St., said several customers inquire a
bout flying out of Cheyenne. Until now, however, it
hasn’t been an option.

“Cheyenne is closer, you don’t have to drive in that
traffic and parking at DIA can get pricey if you’re
gone a week of more,” she said.

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