Regional Carrier Was Two Months Late On Rent, Fees
Given the current state
of the domestic airline industry, it may not be much longer before
smaller airports start insisting on upfront payment from the
airlines serving them. Just ask officials at Durango-La Plata
County Airport (DRO) in southwestern Colorado.
The Durango Herald reports Mesa Air Group, which operates the
airport's only nonstop flight to Phoenix under the US Airways
Express banner, was about two months behind in paying its terminal
rent and landing fees earlier this month. That works out to
approximately $59,000, according to DRO Director of Aviation Ron
Mesa did eventually cut DRO a check for the balance, and Dent
noted the airline was "pretty apologetic" about the lapse. But this
wasn't the first time Mesa has fallen behind in the past seven
months -- after Mesa was hit with an $80 million judgment for
illegally underpricing fares operated by its go! Airlines
subsidiary in Hawaii, as ANN reported.
"They get behind, we chase them and then they pay us," Dent
To address the delinquent nature of Mesa's accounts with the
airport, Dent adds the airport commission recently met to consider
whether to require Mesa to pay a three-month security deposit,
against future late payments.
While Mesa's the only carrier at DRO with direct service to
Phoenix, it isn't the only game in town. Delta Connection flies to
Salt Lake City, and United Express offers routes to Denver.
Frontier Airlines -- which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
-- recently began service to Denver, as well.