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ARCHIVED  March 1, 1996

Airline readies local service

With United Express flights between the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport and Denver becoming more and more crowded, Western Pacific Airlines of Colorado Springs is planning a route between Northern Colorado and that city.
Western Pacific is perhaps best-known for a brutal fare war with larger carriers and its cheery plane-side advertising. While the Bart Simpson, Las Vegas Showgirl and other “air logos” are what most people recognize about Western Pacific, the startup carrier with a 12-plane fleet of Boeing 737-300s serves 19 cities, mostly in the West. The airline celebrates its first anniversary April 28.
“We certainly hope to be flying to Fort Collins,´ said Carol Goettsche, manager of consumer affairs at Western Pacific. But, citing the status of negotiations for gate access here, she declined to say exactly when that might happen.
According to a spokeswoman for Western Pacific, the airline has decided to start a commuter division that will service smaller airports such as Fort Collins-Loveland. The division, to be called WestPAC, will fly smaller aircraft, similar to the 19-passenger Beechcraft 1900 turboprops used by United Express.
WesternPAC’s entrance to the market could result in decreased fares for business commuters who have been paying $95 for a round-trip ticket to Denver International Airport, purchased 21 days in advance. Tickets bought the day of travel can run as high as $121, one-way for the 30-minute flight.
United Express is the only carrier flying out of Fort Collins-Loveland. The airline runs eight flights daily to Denver, beginning at 6 a.m., leaving approximately every two hours. A United Express ticketing agent said employees have been advised that the flight schedule will be adjusted in April, but declined to be more specific.
Airport manager Fred Anderton said Western Pacific has expressed an interest in connecting the Fort Collins-Loveland municipal airport, as well as airports in nine other cities in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, with Colorado Springs.
But because Western Pacific wants to begin commuter service across Colorado by this summer, it will probably be contracting with an existing commuter carrier, rather than buying planes and finding and training a new group of pilots, Anderton said.
“The process of locating pilots and acquiring aircraft would take at least a year,” Anderton said. “Western Pacific has come in and committed itself to the Colorado market. They’re certainly not the only ones that have looked at the airport and the market it services. But they’re the most likely ones to get in here.”
The Fort Collins-Loveland airport has a potential market of 260,000 people, Anderton said.
Although the Fort Collins-Loveland airport is FAA approved to take off and land 737s, Anderton said Western Pacific won’t be sending its 737s there. “A jet’s got to be in the air for about two hours before it becomes profitable,” he said. Western Pacific’s planned commuter division will probably service Santa Fe, N.M., Cheyenne and Casper, Wyo., and Vail, Aspen, Grand Junction, Montrose, Hayden and Durango.
United Express, currently the only airline serving the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport, is operated under contact with United Airlines by Mesa Airline of Albuquerque. Mesa uses the modified logos of United and America West airlines on planes as it operates United Express and America West Express under contract.
Western Pacific recently began East Coast service to Newark, Atlanta, Nashville and Washington Dulles.
From it’s hub in Colorado Springs, Western Pacific also serves Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., San Diego, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Tulsa, Okla., Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Wichita, Kan. and Chicago-Midway.
The President and CEO of Western Pacific Ed Beauvais was the president of America West. Other Western Pacific officers are from Continental, United and Frontier.
With its cut-rate fares, Western Pacific has been a primary lure of Denver business and vacation travelers from DIA to the Colorado Springs Airport.
Western Pacific is a ticketless airline, with no seating assignments.
Passengers are service snacks and beverages, but not meals. Western Pacific flight attendants are “non traditional,” meaning they wear khaki trousers and polo shirts rather than formal uniforms.
Most of United Express’ Fort Collins-Loveland passengers are business travelers.
Some fly with Denver as their destination, but most fly to DIA, where they make a connection to their destination city on a United Airlines flight.

With United Express flights between the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport and Denver becoming more and more crowded, Western Pacific Airlines of Colorado Springs is planning a route between Northern Colorado and that city.
Western Pacific is perhaps best-known for a brutal fare war with larger carriers and its cheery plane-side advertising. While the Bart Simpson, Las Vegas Showgirl and other “air logos” are what most people recognize about Western Pacific, the startup carrier with a 12-plane fleet of Boeing 737-300s serves 19 cities, mostly in the West. The airline celebrates its first anniversary April 28.
“We certainly hope to be…

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