Commercial passenger traffic up at Grand Junction airport

Commercial passenger traffic at the Grand Junction Regional Airport rose slightly during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same time last year.

According to the Grand Junction Airport Authority, a total of 48,320 enplanements — that is, passengers boarding commercial flights — was recorded during the first three months of 2011. That number represents an increase of nearly 1.6 percent from the 47,560 enplanements reported during the first three months of 2010.

The increase was attributed in part to the addition in February of a third daily flight between Grand Junction and the Dallas-Fort Worth area aboard American Eagle Airlines.

A total of 221,826 enplanements were recorded at the Grand Junction airport for all of 2010, down 4.2 percent from the record 231,616 enplanements in 2009. Still, 2010 was the second-busiest year on record for commercial passenger service at the airport.

Five airlines offer service from Grand Junction to a total of six destinations: Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

Continental Airlines plans to offer nonstop service between Grand Junction and Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston starting in May. The new service is among the new routes announced by United Continental Holdings, which was created following the merger of United and Continental Airlines.