A return to normalcy? | SteamboatToday.com

A return to normalcy?

YVRA expects flights to resume regular schedules today

Alexis DeLaCruz

— After three days of cancelled and delayed flights, Yampa Valley Regional Airport officials expect takeoffs and landings to resume as normal today.

Ann Copeland, YVRA’s terminal manager, said travelers booked on flights out of the Hayden airport today should be “prepared to go.”

“We’re hoping that once (Denver International Airport) is up and running, we’ll be back on schedule,” she said Friday afternoon.

Three of DIA’s six runways had opened by 4 p.m. Friday, allowing commercial and passenger flights to leave the airport for the first time since a blizzard crippled the Front Range on Wednesday. DIA officials expected a fourth runway to open Friday night, which would bring the airport to its normal operating capacity.

About 3,000 flights into and out of DIA were cancelled Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport.

The cancellations also impacted YVRA. All United Express regional jet service flights out of Denver were cancelled Wednesday and Thurs-day, and five of the flights were cancelled Friday, Copeland said. However, she didn’t anticipate any cancellations today.

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“Right now I would say you need to be at the airport 1 ½ to two hours early and be ready to go,” she said.

About 1,600 passengers passed through YVRA on Friday. Employees raced to accommodate frustrated passengers by rerouting them on other flights, Copeland said.

“Things are running pretty smoothly for the first time in nearly a week,” she said. “For the loads we had, we were able to get most of the people out on other airlines or they made other arrangements.”

Unlike stranded passengers in Denver, no travelers spend the night at the Hayden airport, Copeland said.

“We did a pretty good job of getting the word out, and I think people realized from watching the news that they weren’t going anywhere,” she said. “We definitely had some folks stranded by the Denver deal because DIA is a main hub. It was like a chain reaction.”

Copeland anticipates YVRA to handle between 1,300 and 2,000 travelers daily until about Jan. 9, when the busy holiday seasons begins to calm down.

“All of our employees have been putting in some long hours to try to get people moving,” she said. “We do appreciate everyone’s patience.”

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com