YVRA prepares for season | SteamboatToday.com

YVRA prepares for season

Flight schedules may shift; wireless Internet not yet installed

Blythe Terrell

— Ski season flights are slated to start in the next couple of weeks, and Yampa Valley Regional Airport should be ready to go.

Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said the Hayden facility’s flight schedule nearly was firmed up, but the airport’s free wireless Internet wasn’t operating. An energy audit also is in the works for YVRA and other municipal buildings, Ruppel said.

“We’re in good shape,” he said. “We had our first safety and security meetings with the airlines (Tuesday) : and we had great attendance with the airlines. The facility is in great shape besides little projects we’re finishing up.”

A few flights begin Dec. 11, and others start the next week.

Frontier Airlines, which starts service Dec. 18, is flying between Denver and YVRA for the first time this season. The airline plans three flights a day. Ruppel predicted that Frontier would pare that down.

He also suggested other airlines would rethink their schedules. United Airlines already flies into YVRA. American, Continental, Delta and Northwest add service for ski season.

“For all the airlines, I think they’re going to look at traffic and drop flights on slower days,” Ruppel said.

People waiting for those flights could have a diversion at their fingertips this winter.

The airport plans to offer free wireless Internet, though Ruppel said that wouldn’t be available until at least January. YVRA is waiting for Qwest to install the line for the service, which advertisers will sponsor, he said.

Also this winter, the airport will turn an eye toward conservation. YVRA’s terminal is one of the Routt County buildings expected to undergo an energy audit.

The county, working with Steamboat Springs, has requested bids from energy service contractors. The group has narrowed the list to four contractors and plans to choose one this month, said Tim Winter, county building and plant director.

The Governor’s Energy Office is pushing the program, through which municipalities get loans for energy-saving improvements and pay them off with the money they save on utilities each year. The contractors do the audits for 9 to 12 cents a square foot and calculate the savings. Winter said the audit price is a good deal.

“This was an idea that really came up in the ’90s,” Winter said. “It’s being pushed hard now. They originally did it with the counties. : The idea was that a lot of places didn’t have the capital to make the improvements that would really save them energy.”

The county plans to have audits done on all 19 buildings, he said. YVRA’s terminal and the Routt County Jail are priorities. Winter said he has tried several times to get funding for solar panels at the airport, for example.

“The hope is through the grants and through the energy audit we’ll get the money to pay for it,” he said. “The county is not in a place to do a lot of capital projects. : This is a way to potentially finance the improvements to the buildings through the savings they produce.”

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