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City of Durango News Flash

Posted on: January 25, 2024

DRO experiences record passenger traffic in 2023

Airport Winter NR Image

Durango, CO:  2023 was officially the busiest on record for airline passenger traffic at Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO), with 431,828 passengers corresponding to an 8.7% increase over the prior record set in 2021.

Total airline traffic was also a significant 17.7% higher than passenger traffic in 2022, when the runway was closed for 10 days for repaving.  

airpot passanger traffic 2023


 "We were excited to welcome a record number of passengers in 2023,” Aviation Director Tony Vicari said. “Whether travelers were flying to see family and friends, take an important business trip, or were leaving on that long-awaited vacation, the team at DRO was proud to help get them there safely and efficiently. This record airline traffic highlights the strength of our market and the continuing demand for air service in Southwest Colorado and the Four Corners.” 

Overall airline seat capacity was up 19% from 2022 levels, with both American Airlines and United Airlines adding significant year-over-year seat capacity into the market. United Airlines was the narrow market share leader at DRO in 2023, carrying 51% of passengers. American Airlines carried the remaining 49% of passengers. Load factors, or the percentage of seats sold, finished at 79%, even with the figure from 2022. 

In addition to the increase in airline seat capacity, during 2023:

  • American Airlines offered additional flight frequencies to both Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). United Airlines restored summer seasonal flights to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and increased average aircraft size by introducing new daily service on a larger Airbus A319 aircraft.  
  • While still below pre-pandemic levels, business travel to and from the region experienced a more significant recovery. Heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, business travel was heavily suppressed from 2020-2021, began to recover slightly in 2022, and edged higher in 2023. 
  • A strong local and regional economy, along with sustained demand for inbound visitation to the area helped to facilitate the increase in airline passenger numbers. 

“This record passenger traffic comes as construction on the first phase of the terminal development program at DRO swiftly moves towards completion in 2024. Higher numbers of passengers and larger aircraft result in added demands on our terminal facilities, and we feel confident that our terminal development plans will allow our airline partners to effectively evolve and grow in the market while also meeting the demands of travelers.” 

Durango airport taxiway

About Durango-La Plata County Airport

Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO) is the primary regional airport for Southwest Colorado, Northwest New Mexico, and the entire Four Corners region. DRO welcomed over 430,000 total passengers in 2023 and contributes over $290 million annually to the regional economy. DRO is served by two major U.S. airlines (American and United), offering year-round daily nonstop routes to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), and Phoenix (PHX), and seasonally to Houston (IAH). 

DRO operates as an enterprise fund of the City of Durango and generates self-sustaining revenue from airport tenants and users in the form of airline rent and landing fees, terminal concessions, ground leases, and parking fees. The airport does not receive any local tax funding. 

Learn more about the Durango-La Plata County Airport at FlyDurango.com. Follow us on social media at twitter.com/DROAirport and facebook.com/DROAirport

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_____________________________________________________________________________

City of Durango logoMedia Contact
Tom Sluis
Public Information Officer 
Phone: (970) 375-5090
Email: Tom.Sluis@durangogov.org


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