Most of the nine hotels now operating near the airport were built in the mid-1990s, just after the airport built its new passenger terminal and traveler numbers were surging with the growth of Western Pacific Airlines.
The carrier went bankrupt in 1998.
Airport hotels now survive by renting rooms to visiting military personnel and government contractors with nearby offices, said Zan Wagner, general manager of the 200-room Radisson Hotel Colorado Springs Airport, the oldest and largest in the airport area.
"Most of our business is on a per-diem (per day) rate set by the federal government at $80. That is down from $104 a couple of years ago," Wagner said.
"There is very limited demand out here, and to put 400 more rooms here is asinine. It doesn't make any sense."
Unless that rate increases in the federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the new hotels probably won't be able to generate enough revenue to recoup their owners' investment, Wagner said.
The airport area doesn't attract many well-heeled tourists, he added.
"We really aren't in the right area for tourism," Wagner said. "There is only a limited supply of people who want to stay" near the airport.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.