LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Just months after announcing their return to Northern Colorado Regional Airport, Allegiant Airlines has canceled all of their flights out of the airport heading in to the holiday season. Allegiant blamed the airport’s failure to have a FAA regulated control tower available in time for their services to Phoenix and Las Vegas to start.
Northern Colorado residents told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas they were left to find last-minute, and expensive, bookings as the holidays quickly approach.
Ron Romero owns local company Colorado Custom Concrete and Masonry. He said flying out of an airport near his business, and at a cheap fare, is what originally convinced him to book his Thanksgiving trip to Las Vegas through Allegiant.
“It is convenient going to Las Vegas, and back, on really cheap flights,” Romero said. “Then go to California to be with our family, loved ones and friends for the holidays.”
However, in an email, Allegiant canceled his flights just five weeks out from their scheduled departure.
The airline said, in the statement, “As part of our agreement to schedule service in Fort Collins, Allegiant was given assurances that an FAA-certified air traffic control tower would be in place at the airport this fall, well in advance of our first scheduled flights. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control have left that promise unfulfilled, much to our frustration. Because we cannot responsibly operate at the airport without a control tower in place, we are left with no choice but to cancel service at this time. “
“I am lost for words right now,” Romero said.
Because the airline waited so long to cancel, Romero said flights for his entire family would now cost him four-times more than what he originally paid for on Allegiant. He said he was disappointed that the airline didn’t help get the stranded passengers on flights with other companies as a courtesy.
“(An Allegiant supervisor) said, ‘We are going to refund your money, good luck,’” Romero said.
One passenger provided CBS4 their original itinerary through Allegiant. It showed they paid almost $280 round trip between Loveland and Phoenix. Now, that same trip out of Denver on another airline would cost them between $400 and $500 per person.
“It is an inconvenience for not only us, (but) other people who booked that flight for Thanksgiving,” Romero said.
The airport issued a statement claiming they were continuing to work on the virtual control tower technology. An estimated installation completion was set at early 2020.