Beginning at the very end of 1946, residents of Fremont County could hop on a plane at the Fremont County Airport and be in Denver in just 45 minutes. This service was provided by Monarch Airlines, a precursor to Frontier Airlines.
Monarch Airlines was established by Ray Wilson and F.W. Bonfils in 1946 and based in Denver. The first flight from Cañon City took place on December 4, 1946 and landed in Durango. The paying passengers from Fremont County on the airline were Mr. and Mrs. William Holt and Mr. and Mrs. George McCormick. In August 1947 and article in the Cañon City Daily Record noted there were two flights from Denver to Grand Junction and back a day. Flights departed Denver at 5:45 PM and 2:20 PM and arrived in Cañon City at 6:25 AM and 3:00 PM. The airline also stopped at Gunnison and Montrose-Delta along the way before landing at Grand Junction. The flights departed from Grand Junction at 8:05 AM and 4:35 PM and followed the same route back, departing Cañon City for Denver at 9:35 AM and 6:05 PM. The flights landed back at Denver at 10:20 AM and 6:50 PM. Other services of Monarch Airlines were the Denver – Durango run and the Albuquerque – Salt Lake City operation.
In 1950, Monarch Airlines merged with Arizona Airways and Challenger Airlines to become Frontier Airlines. While short lived, pictures of the airline in Fremont County make their home in the museum archives.
The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.