MAX poised to take over old airport

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Mountain Air Express, Western Pacific’s commuter airline, has recently announced it will call the former Colorado Spring’s airport its new home. The 110,000-square-foot airport, which is located at 5750 Fountain Blvd., will serve as the new airline’s headquarters, with MAX utilizing up to 50% of the 55,000 square feet leased.

Mountain Air Express will use the vacant space for administration, parts, storage, and spare parts, according to Marshall Arnold, facilities and property director for Western Pacific. MAX is expected to employ 100 people.

Mountain Air Express will begin the move within the next few weeks, with the commuter airline’s flight schedule expected to be in full operation by Dec. 15, with its first flight Dec. 4.

Mountain Air Express will be owned and financed by a combination of Western Pacific and private investors. According to Ed Beauvais, president of Western Pacific, this is the first such commuter airline to serve the ski areas of Colorado.

"The new airline will give Western Pacific a greater marketing reach in terms of mountain vacations," said Beauvais. "We will coordinate our activities with Mountain Air Express in order to offer the American public extraordinary ski vacation values."

Beauvais has named Thomas J.A. McClain as president and CEO of MAX. McClain founded McClain Airlines, a short-lived Phoenix-based carrier that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1987. He also headed Pan American World Airways in Frankfurt, Germany.

The airline will fly to six popular mountain ski destinations: Eagle/Vail, Durango/Purgatory, Gunnison/Crested Butte, Telluride/Montrose, Aspen/Snowmass, and Steamboat Springs/Hayden.

Western Pacific will offer flights from all of its 24 coast-to-coast cities to the six ski destinations.

With gas prices soaring in the Colorado area, the use of the commuter airline may serve to be less costly than driving to skier’s destinations.

The airplanes used for the ski shuttles will be the Dornier 328, which will cruise at 335 knots, or 385 miles per hour, a speed unmatched by any competitive airline. This particular airplane compliements Western Pacific’s jet, the Boeing 737-300.

A Colorado Springs firm, Daniel-Barry Construction, is responsible for the construction for Mountain Air Express new headquarters.