Volaris has operated Denver’s first international flight since April 1st. The Mexican ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) is operating twice-weekly flights between Denver and Guadalajara to fly those who have essential needs or else need to be repatriated. The first of these flights landed in Denver on June 16th.
Volaris marks a return for international flights at Denver
Denver International Airport (DEN) was excited to see Volaris return to the Colorado capital. CEO of the airport, Kim Day, stated the following in a press release viewed by Simple Flying,
“We are excited to welcome back our first foreign-flag carrier, Volaris, as air travel begins to increase following impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an important milestone in our recovery process. We have implemented a number of measures to keep passengers and employees safe and look forward to welcoming international passengers once again.”
According to Flightradar24, Volaris flew an Airbus A320neo on the route. The aircraft, N541VL, is just under a year old. The inbound flight from Guadalajara lasted about three hours, arriving at 14:30 local time. The return flight left in the early evening with a nighttime arrival into Guadalajara.
For now, Volaris will fly twice weekly between Denver and Guadalajara. As conditions improve, additional flights from Denver to Mexico City and Chihuahua are on the books. The last Volaris flight at Denver was on March 31st– to Mexico City. The last Guadalajara service operated from Denver on March 28th. For now, non-essential travel to Mexico remains suspended through July 21st.
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No international service for 75 days
For the last 75 days, DEN has not seen any nonstop international service. The previous international service on April 1st was to Vancouver on Air Canada. Given the current travel restrictions, the airport expects international travel to return once governments lift restrictions.
Traditionally, Denver sees a fair bit of international service. This includes flights to places such as Mexico, Canada, Panama, Iceland, Germany, the UK, and Japan from both US-based and foreign-based airlines.
No major international flights on United
Most of United’s international services out of Denver are not slated to start until later this summer. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the airport was one of the airline’s largest hub. The airline recently welcomed an incredible 24 new gates in Denver. This led to speculation about incredible growth opportunities both at home and abroad.
With travel on the rebound, United could start to resume flights sooner rather than later. However, a return to pre-COVID levels of flying is expected to take anywhere from three to five years. Depending on how United’s team wants to manage its hubs, the airline could press pause on international expansion as it focuses on rebuilding its domestic network.
Geographically, the airport is poised to serve both East Asian and European destinations. Traditionally, United has flown Boeing 787s out of Denver to its long-haul destinations.
Are you excited to see international flights return to Denver? Let us know in the comments!