I-70 shutdown prompts Frontier to add flights between Denver and Grand Junction

Frontier Airlines started flying between Denver and Grand Junction in June. Now the low-cost carrier is adding extra service to keep up with demand in the wake of Interstate 70 being shut down by mudslides in Glenwood Canyon.

Frontier will be offering round-trip flights between Denver International Airport and Grand Junction Regional Airport on Aug. 14 and Aug. 21, the airline announced Friday. Those will be in addition to three weekly round-trip flights between the two cities on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, airline officials said.

The additions we made in response to what the airline believes is stronger demand for air travel to Grand Junction after mudslides shut down the east-west interstate. Earlier this week, Gov. Jared Polis said it could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to clear debris and even partially reopen I-70.

“We’re starting by adding two extra flights to our schedule, thereby adding 150 extra seats between (Denver) and (Grand Junction) for the next couple of weeks and, looking forward, we will continue to evaluate the opportunity for additional service,” Frontier executive Daniel Shurz said in a statement.

The flights start at $70 — a promotional fare that does not include fees for baggage or dedicated seat assignments, policies that are standards of Frontier’s budget carrier approach. Passengers are required to stay at least one night in Grand Junction or Denver before their return flight, according to the airline.

When Frontier announced in April it was adding flights to Grand Junction and Durango, Polis praised the service as a means to connect Coloradans on the Western Slope with the Denver-based airline’s broader flight network out of Denver. He also applauded it as a means to get more tourists to the western half of the state.

Now, the flights may provide a lifeline after another natural disaster disrupted travel in the state.

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“Frontier quickly adding additional flights and offering promotional fares reflects their commitment to Colorado and doing what they can to help during this challenging time,” Grand Junction Regional Airport executive director Angela Padalecki said in a statement. “We are grateful for their support and partnership.”

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