Rounding out his first year as the aviation director for the Colorado Springs Airport, Greg Phillips interviewed with journalist Benét Wilson for a feature that was just published in Airport Business Magazine. The interview discusses his background in aviation, how the airport has tackled past challenges, how it is rapidly growing as Colorado’s second largest airport, and what lies ahead in 2018.
The full interview, titled “New Businesses Help Colorado Springs Airport Grow,” serves as an excellent illustration of why Colorado Springs is an ideal location for aviation-related businesses.
“The Forest Service has five C-130s that the Air Force donated to them to convert to firefighting. Peterson AFB’s mission is maintaining C-130s. Sierra Nevada Corporation is building a hangar to work on military-mission C-130s. There’s a synergy here that just makes sense. Add to that, we’ve got a 13,501-foot runway that is the fifth-longest in the U.S. You have a transitioning workforce that’s skilled, smart and ready to work hard. I don’t understand why anybody would go anywhere else.”
While the Colorado Springs Airport is often compared to the size of Denver International Airport, Phillips’s goal is for the airport to complement DIA, rather than compete against it. “I tend to think that if one airport profits and succeeds, then other airports do too. What is it we’re trying to do? We’re trying to get people traveling and make it easy for them,” Phillips said. And easy access, cheaper parking, and shorter lines all make the Colorado Springs Airport a smooth experience for commercial travelers south of Denver and across El Paso County.
Recognizing these benefits, Frontier Airlines added multiple flights from Colorado Springs to new cities in 2017. American followed up by adding two new daily direct flights to Chicago O’Hare.
On the private aviation-side, Cutter Aviation FBO opened a new facility last August, Sierra Nevada Corporation will open a new 60,000 square-foot hangar this fall and the airport’s World War II aviation museum is investing $12 million into their upcoming expansion.
Phillips’ first year at the helm proves his theory that success begets success. This year his team is focused on developing more aviation and aerospace opportunities – in the air through expanded commercial service and on the ground with 900 acres of available land. “I want Colorado Springs to be the most aggressive small airport in the country when it comes to air service development because it’s super important,” Phillips explained.
We’re looking forward to seeing which new businesses make the Colorado Springs Airport their home in the year to come.