DIA hears from some critics

  Because of a late plane coming from Denver International Airport, a standing-room-only crowd of 150 waited nearly two hours at an air summit meeting in Grand Junction, Colo., for DIA officials to show. Once over the Rockies, DIA reps heard a list of woes from regional airport managers: sky-high fares, unreliable service and bumped ticket-holders because of overbookings - problems blamed mostly on the monopoly held by United Airlines in Denver and its in-state carrier. That monopoly was created when Continental Airlines pulled out of Denver and a commuter airline also abandoned the region, both citing the high cost of operating out of DIA (HCN, 1/23/95).

Colorado Gov. Roy Romer said that although he couldn't support subsidies to regional airlines, he did look with favor on new airlines starting up. He also conceded that building DIA could have been delayed for five or more years, although complaints from neighbors about noise "made it inevitable."

Meanwhile, representatives from booming airports in Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs, Colo., said they were expanding to meet the needs of dropouts from pricey DIA.

*Betsy Marston

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