There’s been a lot of updates and improvements at the Aspen airport in the last year and a half, and now city planners have a game plan for the future – and exactly how the new Aspen-Pitkin County airport will look and feel.
In November 2011, Pitkin County commissioners approved a $15.4 million runway extension, adding an extra 1,000 feet of runway – from 7,000 feet to 8,000 feet. The move was in response to weight restrictions that forced many commercial carriers to leave seats empty, especially in warmer weather, to be able to depart from the Aspen airport, per FAA regulations. (Higher temperatures, combined with altitude, can affect aircraft performance.) The extra runway space also allowed for larger planes and additional flights coming in and out of the airport.
According to airport officials, the additional runway space has more than exceeded their expectations for increased commercial activity.
Now, the county is looking at even more development at the airport. First off is a set of guidelines for how all future airport projects will function. Preliminary plans include a new and improved commercial terminal, new architecture and landscaping, energy-efficiency improvements, and other visual enhancements. Other line items – such as improving the fire-suppression and sprinkler systems – are critical to airport functionality, and are in danger of slipping below acceptable standards.
Next, a ground transportation study will analyze how people get to and from the airport. The study will compare Aspen’s airport to other comparable airports nationwide, in an attempt to identify ways to reduce traffic and increase convenience.
In the coming months, county commissioners will be discussing these improvements at length. October 29 is the target date for the completion of the transportation and design studies. The county will appoint an advisory committee to provide input and recommendations as the plans move forward.
Improvements at the airport are funded by grants and airport revenues. The airport is not supported by county taxes. We constantly update our Aspen airport info page to keep arriving guests updated with the latest flight info.