Grand Junction airport gets service to Houston next spring

Direct flights between Houston and Grand Junction are tentatively scheduled to begin May 1.

The timing of the news surprised Grand Junction Regional Airport Aviation Director Rex Tippetts, who learned the airport would gain a new flight destination 12 hours before United Continental Holdings Inc. publicly announced it Thursday.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for the last two years,” he said. “But with oil and gas the way it is, we thought it’d be spring” 2011 before a decision would be made about a Houston-Grand Junction flight.

Several West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association member companies fly from Houston to Denver, then fly or drive to Western Colorado to do business, according to West Slope COGA Executive Director David Ludlam.

Ludlam said in a news release the new flight will “save time, money and encourage energy business travel to the Grand Valley.”

Grand Junction started flights to and from Dallas in 2008 in part because of demand from oil and gas workers. The airport’s most recent addition was a flight to and from Los Angeles that began last spring.

The new Houston flight follows the recent merger of United and Continental airlines. United provides the sole flights between Grand Junction and Denver.

Continental has a hub in Houston, home of George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Tippetts said he isn’t sure how many flights a day will travel between Grand Junction and Houston, but he knows the jets for the flight will hold 50 passengers.


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