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Cortez, Montezuma County Favor Denver Air or Airline Service

3/2/2022

This week's roundup includes information the selection process to choose a new airline carrier for the Cortez airport, the Southwest Water Conservation District, and the Dolores River Festival. This story is sponsored by Stoneage Tools and Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado

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Denver Air Connection, received votes of endorsement to become the next commercial passenger airline at the Cortez airport. But a final decision on which company will win the contract is pending. You're watching "The Local News Roundup" brought to you by Stone Age Tools and the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado. I'm Wendy Graham settle. Denver Air Connection received letters of endorsement from the Cortez City council the Mono Zuma County commissioners and several economic development organizations. As the preferred airline to take over air service at the Cortez airport. Although the community has selected Denver Air Connection as the favorite airline over competitor Southern Airways Express the US Department of Transportation will make the final selection. The Department of Transportation has the ultimate authority to choose which carrier will serve the Cortez region because the local airport is designated as an essential air facility. That means the US Department of Transportation provides airlines with significant subsidies to provide air service to small communities that otherwise couldn't sustain passenger air service on their own. In their proposals, Denver air has requested a subsidy of $6 million for the first year. Southern Airways has requested about $4 million a year in federal support. Denver Air is the passenger arm of Key Lime Air Corporation a Colorado company that started in 1997 as a cargo and charter flight airline. It provides scheduled air service to 12 airports in the Rocky mountains and Midwest with connections to major hubs in Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, and Chicago. It proposes to offer 24 round trip flights a week from Cortez to Denver and Phoenix on its eight to nine seater aircraft or 12 round trip flights a week on its 30 to 50 passenger airplanes. Although Southern Airways requested a smaller subsidy Airport Director, Jeremy Patton told the city council that Denver Air has been in business longer than Southern Airways and has extensive experience with mountain flying. Denver Air is the only commercial airline serving Telluride. Denver Air has a 99% completion rate on flights. Average one way fair would be about $65 depending on the destination. Denver Air has an Interlining agreement with United Airlines to allow passengers to book flights through united.com. If Denver Air is selected as the Cortez airport's next carrier it will take over service from Boutique Air which has served Cortez since 2018. Boutique Air did not submit a proposal to continue service in Cortez. To follow developments, visit cityofcortez.com As Southwest Colorado enters into the 22nd year of drought experts will tackle the challenges ahead during the 38th annual Southwest Water Conference scheduled for Friday, April 1st at the DoubleTree Hotel. The conference is hosted by the Southwest Water Conservation district and will focus on the drought related theme of navigating shortage. The day long event will cover how stakeholders are managing water supplies for multiple uses water quality challenges as water levels drop water storage, and climate change. Both in person and virtual attendance options are available to participants. To register, visit swwcd.org. Water rafting, games, and music return with the Dolores River Festival after a two year pandemic induced hiatus. Although most of the details are sketchy this far in advance the festival will be on Saturday, June 4th in Joe Rowell Park in Dolores. The event is hosted by and benefits greater Dolores action. Stay tuned for details by checking the festival website @doloresriverfest.org. That's it for this week's local news roundup. Thank you for watching. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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