Three airlines offer new or expanded service | CraigDailyPress.com

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Three airlines offer new or expanded service

TELLURIDE, Colo. (AP) Three airlines are offering new or expanded service to this ski resort town or to nearby Montrose from Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Newark, N.J.

American Airlines will offer a new service from Dallas/Fort Worth to Montrose, 65 miles from Telluride, from December to March.

Continental will expand to year-round flights from Houston beginning in December. Continental previously offered service only during ski season.

Continental will also add Saturday service from Newark, N.J., during the ski season.

America West will add a flight from Phoenix on Saturdays during the ski season.

Telluride, 365 miles southwest of Denver, relies heavily on air service.

”When you consider we are a six-and-a-half-hour drive from the next big market, and you drive past at least 11 resorts to get here, airline service is extremely important to us,” said Tom Hess, chairman of the Telluride Airline Service Committee.

Hess said most of the airlines that serve Telluride have a contract with the town’s businesses that guarantees them a subsidy if they do not fill a minimum number of seats. The terms are confidential, but Hess said Telluride businesses hope to raise between $1.2 million and $1.5 million to cover the costs.

”We hope we don’t have to pay out that much, and we can keep it for next year,” he said.

In addition to Continental, American and America West, United Airlines serves Telluride with flights from Denver to Montrose and Telluride regional airports.