Growth, New Flights on Airport Agenda

1/20/21
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A new pilot fills the seat as director of the City of Cortez Municipal Airport, and he says the airport can play an important role in the economic development and growth of Montezuma County.

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The new Cortez Municipal

Airport director wants to

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maintain inexpensive flights,

add more airline service

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and expand the airport's role

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as an economic development

partner in Southwest Colorado.

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You're watching the local

news network brought

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to you by TrueWest Auto of Cortez.

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I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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Jeremy Patton is the new pilot

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at the helm of the

Cortez Municipal Airport.

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He started work on January 7th

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and succeeds Russ Macon

who retired after 41 years

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of service with the city of Cortez.

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Patton most recently

served as a firefighter

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in Los Alamos, New Mexico

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and worked as an air traffic

controller in the Navy.

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As a kid growing up in New

Mexico, he was a frequent visitor

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to Southwest Colorado and

has family who live in Macas.

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The Federal Aviation

Administration has deemed

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the Cortez Airport as an essential airport

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and therefore provides assistance

to maintain air service

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to rural Southwest Colorado.

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But Patton says, he'd like to provide more

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than just an essential service.

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He'd like to expand the airport's role

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as an economic driver in the region.

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So we want to expand a little bit,

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we want to get some more business in here.

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A bigger terminal is on the agenda,

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maybe a larger or additional

planes with the current airline

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and to provide more flights out of Cortez.

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Boutique Air, a small regional carrier

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serves the Cortez market

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with inexpensive flights

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to destinations throughout the West.

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A number of passengers

come from other communities

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in the region to take

advantage of Boutique Air's

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low fares for work and vacation travel.

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Before the pandemic, the Cortez Airport

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saw nearly 10,000 passengers

through its doors.

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It also serves as a base

for military operations,

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a tanker base during firefighting season

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and services private jets.

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Patton says he has a commitment

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to maintain low fares out of Cortez

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but he also says the

airport can play a role

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in bringing out of town

destination visitors

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to the area in partnership

with visit Mesa Verde Country

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and other economic

development organizations.

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And that's the thing we

want to maintain that

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we want to maintain cheap flights

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and we want to attract people here.

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It's not just a terminal

to get out of Cortez.

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You know, I mean

obviously people live here

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that want to go somewhere,

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Like I want to get a flight

to Vegas on the books.

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You know, that'd be

good for the community.

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So I must drive all the way

to Durango or Farmington

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but we want to bring people in.

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There's a lot to offer here

that I think is overlooked

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or is not as rated as it should be.

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And Mesa Verde is awesome.

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The outdoors is,

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there's so many things to do.

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The community is building,

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there's a lot of new shops coming in,

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there's a lot of room for growth.

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So, you know, those are things to consider

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in the next 5, 10 years.

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If you'd like to know

more about the airport

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you can reach Patton at

cortezairport@cityofcortez.com.

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Thanks for watching this edition

of the Local News Network.

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I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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