Airfares touch down in Aspen |

Airfares touch down in Aspen

More supply than demand means good deals to be had

Carolyn Sackariason/The Aspen Times

It appears that competition between airlines and economic uncertainty has resulted in good deals for tourists coming to Aspen.

Two airlines serving the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport – Frontier and United – are reducing their prices to entice customers who have decided to stick close to home instead of taking a ski vacation.

“We’re seeing fares tumbling like we’ve never seen before,” said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, a central reservations agency and the local business community’s liaison with the airlines. “Airline pricing is the purest form of supply and demand.”

It wasn’t even four months ago that Tomcich predicted that, with surging fuel costs, airlines would jack up their prices. He cautioned people in August who were planning to fly this winter to grab a good fare when they saw it because it might not last.

However, reduced fares – some dramatic – were found Sunday on United and Frontier’s Web sites, compared to a similar search conducted by The Aspen Times on Aug. 29.

“Things have changed a lot,” Tomcich said. “What a difference six months make. Then, we were talking about whether Aspen is immune to an economic downturn.”

It appears Tomcich was correct in his assumption this past summer that if bookings appear slow, the airlines would be forced to react.

Airfares might be less than they were a few months ago, but it’s certainly not because of fuel prices – airlines at the time locked in oil pricing at $120 a barrel, fearing that it would continue to increase.

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