By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE—(December 18) When Mariet Cyrus stepped from the plane at 10 a.m. last Saturday morning, she was among the very first travelers to arrive in Montrose via Allegiant Airlines from Oakland, California.
“At first I was nervous,” laughed Cyrus. “I had never flown on such a cheap flight before! But I will do it again—I saved hundreds of dollars!”
As cowboy musician Paul Nystrom played and individually welcomed arriving passengers, many of those who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring Allegiant Airlines to Montrose were on hand as well to greet passengers and well-wishers.
“This has been an unprecedented collaboration,” said Telluride Montrose Regional Air Organization Chief Operating Officer Matt Skinner. “Every major player in the region has been involved…this is the wave of the future, and will determine how successful we will be as a regional economy.
“Better access now will allow us to compete,” he said, “and makes the future somewhat limitless.”
Montrose Mayor Judy Ann Files called Dec. 15 an exciting day for Montrose.
“We look at this as economic development,” Files said. “This enhances our tourism opportunities. The Montrose Airport is vital for the health of our region and our community. Welcome Allegiant Airlines!”
“I am so excited that Allegiant Airlines is serving Montrose,” City Council member Carol McDermott said. “It allows an inexpensive option for those who like to travel.”
Scott Clarkson of Crested Butte Mountain Resort drove down through heavy precipitation to be part of the celebration.
“Having two new markets serving Crested Butte and Telluride is always a good thing,” Clarkson said. “Allegiant is an inexpensive carrier. And to have them arrive with the first real snows is just great!”
Allegiant Airlines now offers direct, bi-weekly service between Montrose and Oakland International Airport (OAK) and Phoenix-Mesa airport (IWA). This winter, Allegiant has announced that it will offer an introductory one-way fare from Oakland starting at $113 ($226 round -trip) and from Phoenix starting as low as $83 one-way ($166 round-trip)* (base fare not including bags, pre-reserved seats or other extras). The flights began Dec. 15 and will conclude April 3.