YVRA plans for solid 2009 | SteamboatToday.com

YVRA plans for solid 2009

Hayden airport budgets for another year in the black

Blythe Terrell

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. in June announced the 2008-09 ski season flight program to Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Total available seats are down slightly from 2007-08 numbers, but officials are pleased with the program given the state of the airline industry.

— Yampa Valley Regional Airport officials expect the facility to be on sound financial footing in 2009.

The Hayden airport should see an increase in net operating income and a decrease in working capital next year, according to budget documents. The Yampa Valley Airport Commission agreed Thursday to recommend that the Routt County Board of Commissioners approve the 2009 budget.

“I guess in contrast to a lot of the other municipal budgets, ours is in pretty good shape this year,” YVRA Manager Dave Ruppel said. “We had a pretty good year last year, and we’ve been able to continue to operate in the black. This will be : our second full year of operations when we’re operating with a profit; 2009 will be our third year.”

Ruppel expects to have no problem getting approval from the commissioners. He plans to present the budget to them Oct. 21. The Airport Commission and its budget committee tend to iron out the kinks before the three-person county panel sees the plan, he said.

“By the time we get to the regular County Commissioners board, there’s not a whole lot of questions left to ask,” Ruppel said.

It helps, he said, that County Commissioner Doug Monger, who represents the Hayden area, sits on the Airport Commission.

Recommended Stories For You

The airport aims to be self-sufficient – eventually. It hopes to get $250,149 from the county for 2009, according to the documents, down from $479,874 in 2007 and $470,030 budgeted for 2008.

Net operating income is budgeted at $471,100 for 2009, compared with $369,152 projected for this year. Working capital is expected to be at $1.7 million for 2009, down from $2 million projected for 2008.

YVRA is increasing some of its fees next year. Landing fees will go up, as will the terminal/passenger services rental rate and security fees.

The airport also plans to pay more. YVRA has budgeted for a 4 percent wage increase and a 10 percent increase in health insurance costs. The facility also expects a bump in electricity costs: 25 percent more than 2008 and 38 percent more than 2007.

“I think the key thing we had to do with the airport budget is plan for what we anticipate to be a slight drop in passenger load because of the economy,” Airport Commission Chairman Mike Forney said.

The commission is planning for a 10 percent decrease in enplanements for the ski season. The addition of Frontier Airlines increases winter flight capacity by 8 percent, officials have said.

The YVRA budget projects that Frontier’s flights will be 50 percent full. Airport officials expect other flight loads to range from 55 percent full to 72 percent full.

“We’ve looked at this from the point of view of trying to be conservative and being cognizant of what’s going on with the economy,” Ruppel said. “We’ve taken most of our numbers, our revenue numbers, and adjusted them down.”

Still, he seemed to feel pretty good.

“We tried to look across the board at all the different revenue sources, and : even with that, we still come out with very strong budget for next year,” Ruppel said.