COLROADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A record number of passengers traveled through the Colorado Springs Airport in the last year. More than 1 million people flew out of COS in 2023, according to Colorado Springs Airport staff.
And more than 2 million in total traveled through the airport in 2023.
106,474 of those passengers flew out in December. This is a 10% increase compared to the previous year and stands as the highest number at COS since the year 1999.
Travelers told our sister station in Southern Colorado that they prefer the Colorado Springs Airport because of its size and convenience, but some passengers said they are concerned the airport may become too crowded as it continues to grow.
Lori Korbas has flown into COS more than a dozen times. She travels from Chicago to Colorado so she can visit her daughter. Korbas said she likes the Colorado Springs Airport because of two things specifically.
“It's small and convenient,” Korbas said.
Several passengers use those two words to describe the Colorado Springs Airport.
“I think it's the cleanest airport I've ever been in and I'm a traveler. Not many people. It's not crowded and people are nice. I mean the staff here, wherever you go, there's really kind people and I like it here. It's almost like home at an airport, you know? So I feel very comfortable,” Kimberly Phelps said.
Phelps lives in Colorado Springs and frequently flies out of COS. She said it's one of the only airports that does not cause her lots of anxiety.
“There was no wait time, we got off the plane great. The baggage was wonderful. It came very quickly and this is why I like to travel out of Colorado Springs,” Phelps said.
Phelps was at COS on Thursday to welcome her daughter to Colorado.
“I'm picking up my oldest daughter and her family and my grandbaby. I'm so excited,” Phelps said. Is it so special. I haven't seen my daughter in four years and I have not met her family, so this is the first time I'll be meeting her wife and her baby.”
Last year, the airport added two additional airlines, Avelo and Sun Country as well as flights to Long Beach and other areas. As the city of Colorado Springs continues to grow, the airport is trying to accommodate more foot traffic.
“We also did the TSA queuing line and we expanded that just for that convenience. So you'll be wrapped around the line instead of coming out into the atrium area, which we saw people starting to do. And so this allows more people to be within that area and it adds more efficiency through the line,” Aidan Ryan, the Communications Manager for COS, said.
Ryan said this helps speed up the time it takes to go through security.
“I think it's great because there's not a lot of wait time when you come. Denver is different and you're going to be waiting, you know, at least 30 minutes to an hour to get through security,” Phelps said.
While some travelers like these improvements, they hope the airport will remain somewhat small and convenient.
"They are going to have to end up accommodating more people coming which will be a good thing too, but keep it small, keep it small like Colorado Springs,” Phelps said.
“I think it really has to do with the flight options that we have available, as well as seeing that our prices have come down and they're more comparable to Denver,” Ryan said.
Ryan said the airport expects the number of travelers to continue to rise in 2024. They are planning to add daily flights to Baltimore-Washington this summer.