In 2000, travelers departing from Denver International Airport paid an average of $442 for their flights. Fast-forward 10 years, and the same flight out of Denver cost an average of $294 — $47 less than the national average, according to a report issued Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
That 33.5 percent drop between the second quarter of 2000 and the second quarter of this year gave Denver the second-largest airfare decrease in the country over that period, the report said.
“There is definitely a Southwest (Airlines) factor combined with Frontier’s ability to compete now,” said Mac Clouse, a University of Denver finance professor.
Frontier, which was acquired out of bankruptcy last year by Republic Airways, now has the “financial wherewithal to be a competitor,” Clouse said. “Frontier has been very aggressive with some of its pricing, which we wouldn’t have seen without Republic’s dollars.”
Denver’s airfares between 2007 and 2009 also tell a story that is local and national.
By the second quarter of 2007, Denver’s average airfare had dropped to $311.75, which reflects low-cost Southwest’s return to the market in 2006.
In the second quarter of 2009, Denver’s average airfare slumped to $276. Nearly all of the 100 airports included in the report experienced lower fares in 2009 than in 2008 as business and leisure travel shrank with the economy.
“What we need in Denver is for all three competitors (United, Frontier and Southwest) to stay healthy,” Clouse said.
If the three stay healthy, Clouse said, the flying public wins with lower fares, and Colorado wins with more people flying here to recreate, attend conventions and do business.
The report says average fares are based on domestic itinerary fares and include the price paid at the time of purchase but not other fees, such as for baggage.
Via Denver Post