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ROUTES: Frontier seeks E-190 certification for Aspen

Frontier Airlines is looking at certifying the Embraer E-190 for operations at Aspen as the carrier looks for alternatives to continue serving the lucrative market after it phases out its fleet of Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s.

Frontier is currently planning to phase out its remaining three Q400s in April, and is currently using the turboprops in three markets - Aspen, Colorado Springs and Durango. Frontier vice president strategy and planning Daniel Shurz says that while Frontier is confident its E-Jets can be used just as successfully in the Colorado Springs and Durango markets, currently they are not certified for Aspen.

Shurz says Frontier is now discussing with Embraer and Aspen Airport to see if the E-170s or E-190s can fly into the famous ski resort. "We'd like to find a solution. If we can find a way to make the 190 or 170 work, we will. We like the market," Shurz says.

The E-190 is more likely to be certified than the E-170 for Aspen's steep approach. Aspen is planning to soon embark on a runway extension project, which could help the certification effort. Shurz says the E-190's wingspan and maximum takeoff weight is above the limits set by Aspen Airport's regulations, but the airport is considering extending these limits to include the E-190.

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