RTA may pitch winter JSX flights next
[ By Mark Reaman ]
Response has been so positive to new boutique air carrier JSX’s plans to fly business class seats direct from Love Field in Dallas to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport this summer that the company is expanding the service from twice a week to four times a week during the heart of the season. And that’s before the first flight has even touched down at GUC. That is scheduled to occur on June 30. The high-end service is slated to run through September 5 with the four times a week service taking place from July 15 through August 15.
“I think it is fair to say that the RTA is very excited that the JSX service is being expanded,” said Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) executive director Scott Truex. “We really didn’t know what would happen, but this is beyond our expectations.”
RTA air consultant Kent Myers of Airplanners LLC said he and his colleagues that have been working in the airline business sector for decades have never seen such a booming response. “I have never seen anything like the Gunnison Airport JSX program,” he said. “In fact, Bruce Wetsel who works on the Airplanners booking reports for us has never seen anything like it. He has worked in the U.S. airline industry for over 50 years for six different airlines.”
In a press release from JSX, the company said the 30-seat jets will fly on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Because the jets have only 30 seats, passengers do not have to go through an airport’s general TSA security lines, can show up 20 minutes before departure and receive several free amenities. Those amenities include free bags, gourmet snacks, drinks and the ability to bring small dogs and pets along for free.
“Our continued expansion into the Mountain West adds some of Colorado’s most idyllic and exciting destinations to our growing route map,” said JSX CEO Alex Wilcox. “With demand for travel continuing to rise, our new service to Gunnison/Crested Butte (and Denver/Boulder) will provide our customers with readily accessible hassle-free flights that quickly get them out of the airport and into the action.”
Some introductory fares are as low as $249 one-way from Dallas. Two of the flights coming into GUC (Thursdays and Sundays) originate in Austin and that intro fare starts at $349 one-way.
“We did not ask for the extra service and are very happy that JSX has decided to add the extra flights,” said Truex. “The original service is already booked at a 73% load factor right now. We look forward to talking with JSX about possible winter service sometime this fall, but we haven’t started those discussions yet. I don’t know yet if people are originating in Austin or if it’s just Dallas.”
Myers said the breakdown of passengers originating in Austin will be fleshed out after the summer season. “Granted, it is a very small program with only 600 inbound available seats, operating during the peak period of the summer, with a unique business service model, to the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex which is the number-one O&D market for GUC,” Meyers explained. “I’m assuming the Dallas and Tarrant Counties have the largest number of out-of-state homeowners in Gunnison County. All these data points are very positive for the program. Still, it is very impressive.”