Aspen is one of the most desirable ski destinations in the world. Its snowy charm appeals to amateurs and professionals alike. Powdery white pistes blanket the central west region of the Rocky Mountains, extending into four separate ski resorts connected by shuttle. Trails at Buttermilk are suitable for satisfying novice interest in skiing, while Snowmass attracts the largest crowd of skillful skiers. The Aspen-Pitkin Country Airport (KASE) is responsible for welcoming the enthusiastic influx of travelersto the top resorts in Colorado. With a convenient drive of only 3 miles to downtown Aspen, the airport may seem the perfect gateway to the wintry holiday town.
However, the surface is icy fragile. Despite being in closest proximity to the resorts, KASE is notorious for its high arrival delay indices. Aircraft at KASE are forced to follow unique procedures even with regular traffic due to the mountainous terrain. If temperatures fall below 72 F, altitude correction is required. In the last week of December 2021, 83.8% of the scheduled arrivals and departures did not land at KASE. Furthermore, around 25% of airline flights to and from the airfield got canceled in the past month. Night operations are also almost impossible due to the airport’s prohibition and the low visibility.
The weather at KASE continues to be severely unfavorable on multiple occasions, prompting diversions to nearby airfields.
Located in Rifle, Colorado, 77 miles away from central Aspen, the Garfield County Regional airfield serves as a suitable diversion ground for flights to Aspen-Pitkin Airport. A car drive takes around an hour and a half to reach the holiday town. Around 77% of the net income of the airfield is accrued due to inconsistent weather elsewhere. The over 90% influx of general aviation at the airstrip accounts for ATC diversions from nearby airfields.
Rifle Garfield Airport facilitates an average of 33 daily private jet flights. The landing fee is charged at the rate of $2.5 for every thousand pounds of aircraft weight. For a small jet like the Cessna Citation V, the landing fee is around $80. Atlantic Aviation is the sole FBO stationed on the ground. Publicly reported overnight ramp fee is limited to monthly rate only. Reach Atlantic Aviation at 970-625-4833 for the quotes.
The GJT Airport is 128 miles away from the snowflake city of Aspen. A car drive of over 2 hours and a bit will be enough for the ride, or a helicopter charter will take around 45 minutes. The entire airport covers over 2,350 acres of land, earning its name on the list of the largest airfields in Colorado. Established in 1930 and later renamed Walker Field in memory of its hospitable investor, the airstrip is revamping to date. Airlines only consume about 10% of the traffic on the runway. A large chunk is shared by general aviation aircraft. Pilots have used the GJT airfield for diversions for years due to the night-time landing restrictions at Aspen-Pitkin airstrip.
The parking fee at the Grand Junction Airport varies with the size of the private jet aircraft. A Cessna Citation V jet parks at the charge of $250, which is partly annulled if fuel is purchased as well. Passenger handling and crew handling is free of charge. W Star Aviation is the relevant FBO on the ground. There are no landing and overnight fees at the facility.
Approximately 133 miles away from the business center of Aspen, the Montrose Regional Airport serves the winter vacationing crowd to Telluride and Snowmass. The car drive extends to 2 hours and 45 minutes to Aspen – enough for a nap. About 75% of the airfield’s traffic accounts for private jet charter passengers. Airlines are limited to 20% of the influx, with 100 flights operating daily. Atlantic Aviation is the only fixed-based operator at the scene, so fuel rates are subject to peak in winter seasons.
For a business jet like a Citation V, the facilitation fee is waived off if 220 gallons of fuel is purchased. Montrose Airport charges a drop-off expense for $420 as well. The lavatory, parking, and hangar charges are all pricier here. Hiking, dining, and camping enthusiasts flock to the airdome at the foot of the San Juan Mountains all year round. The airfield serves passengers 24/7 on the weekends as well.
Centennial Airport is located in Denver’s Dove Valley. Nine out of ten planes visiting the airport are corporate business jets or leisure luxury travel vehicles. With unpredictable weather conditions at Aspen-Pitkin airstrip, sometimes Centennial is the best for diversion landings. A distance of 211 miles to the icy ski downtown can be covered by a car in 4 hours or faster by helicopter charter to Aspen. Even though the airfield is functional 24 hours each day, noise restrictions apply. They leave only air-ambulance or light cargo air traffic to operate at night.
Centennial is suitable in terms of pricing. Passenger tax, security, crew transportation, and towing fees are free of cost. A medium jet like a Hawker 800 incurs a $360 handling fee and $100 for O/N. For Very Light Jets like the Citation Mustang, the handling fee is only $135, and the O/N is $50. The airport oversees a thousand airplane flights each day. Centennial is hosted by 3 of the US’s top 25 FBOs; TAC Air, Signature Flight Support, and Modern Aviation.