Speaking from a makeshift media facility on the second level of the Colorado Springs Airport terminal, Mayor Steve Bach announced the creation Tuesday morning of the Airport Air Service Task Force.
Given that the city and its enterprises already benefit from the advice of scores of such citizen advisory panels, such an announcement wouldn’t ordinarily merit a dedicated press conference.
This five-member task force is different. Its members include El Pomar CEO Bill Hybl, Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, and retired Air Force four-star Gen. Victor Renuart.
Mayor Bach lavished praise upon the group, noting that Pam Shockley “has never met a challenge she couldn’t meet.” He also said that Steve Bartolin would represent the Broadmoor and Phil Anschutz on the task force.
Hybl will be chairman of the task force, which will investigate ways to improve service, flight frequency, non-stop destinations and financing.
“We can only make recommendations,” he said. “There are lots of smaller airports that are experiencing the same problems, with reduced service and fewer destinations. There’s no option on or off the table. We’ll be looking for fresh ideas and not be captured by history.”
Asked to clarify his reference to financing, Hybl was noncommittal.
“It would involve what you pay, how you pay for it and what are the underlying costs,” he said.
After the meeting, Steve Bartolin confirmed that improved air service is “at the top of Mr. Anschutz’ priority list.”
Mayor Bach shared at least one proposal with the group.
“So many people from southern Colorado bypass our airport and drive to Denver,” he said. “We’re not just the Colorado Springs Airport – we’re a regional airport for southern Colorado. We may rename the airport, have a contest – wouldn’t that be fun?”