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Roswell continues effort to bring Denver flights here

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A United Airlines spokesperson confirms interest in a Denver-Roswell route. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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City staff with the Roswell International Air Center will continue to work toward a deal with United Airlines for service to Denver in spite of the announcement that the airline will be flying to the Mile High City from Hobbs starting in late October.

“At this point, based on our surveys and the professional opinion of our consultant, Mead and Hunt, this is currently the only airline/route we are actively pursuing,” Mark Bleth, deputy director and marketing manager for the Air Center, wrote in an email.

The city submitted a Small Community Air Service Development Grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation in July. Denver International Airport and United Airlines wrote some of the letters of support for the grant application and a nonstop flight to Denver. A decision regarding funding is expected some time this fall.

The grant would provide some money to help offset any initial costs related to introducing a new commercial air route. Roswell now has commercial service to and from Phoenix and Dallas via American Airlines.

Bleth added that his prior conversations with United officials indicate that the airline intends to add about 50 new routes into the Denver airport over a period of about a year, either with the addition of new cities or increased frequency of existing routes.

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“There are no guarantee(s) in this world, but we’ve made our best effort in bringing in more air service into Roswell,” Bleth wrote. “We will continue our quest to bring more economic opportunities to Roswell, (regardless) of what Hobbs does.”

He said, however, that if the grant is not funded, the city will consider another “path forward.”

The city began talking in late 2018 about adding a third commercial air route. City staff have said that surveys of airport customers, as well as marketing analyses of credit card data and other information, indicate that Denver is among the top destinations for many people living in the area. The Denver region is also home to some significant employers in Roswell, including Leprino Foods Co.

In April, the city announced that it had signed an memorandum of understanding with the Denver airport to explore future business opportunities.

A United Airlines spokesperson said that the Hobbs-to-Denver United Express flights out of the Lea County Regional Airport will start Oct. 27 and will run one time a day for six days of the week.

Erin Benson also confirmed the airline’s continued interest in Roswell.

“We believe Roswell could fit well into United’s network,” she said.

The letter of support from Daniel Malinowski, director of domestic network development for United, stated that United “believes that the Roswell community today is underserved and offers us an opportunity to bring our quality air service to the region.”

He also said that the Department of Transportation grant funds would “greatly increase our interest in entering the market.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.