After another record-breaking winter, Yampa Valley Regional Airport continues to craft plan for expansion

The Yampa Valley Regional Airport and its engineering consultant Mead & Hunt presented a plan for an airport expansion at an open house on Thursday, June 1, 2023. This graphic shows phase two of the refined terminal and apron alternative plan.
Yampa Valley Regional Airport and Mead & Hunt/Courtesy photo

The Yampa Valley Regional Airport broke yet another record for its 2022-23 winter season with nearly 4% more passengers than the year before. With the number of passengers continuing to rise, the airport is looking into plans to expand.

“The great snow undoubtedly helped with the number of passengers this past season,” Airport Director Kevin Booth said.

With 448 inches this season, Steamboat Resort saw the most snow it has seen since the 2010-11 season, and the Yampa Valley Regional Airport felt the impacts of the good powder year.

From December to March, the airport recorded 143,453 arrivals in comparison to last season’s 139,093. Overall, 287,826 passengers came into the airport this winter — a 3.7% increase over last season’s 277,508 passengers. 

The airport has continuously broken records starting with the 2020-21 ski season, which coincided with the peak of the COVID-19 and lockdown.

Despite breaking records for passengers, the previous two seasons — 2020-21 and 2021-22 — had relatively low numbers for snowfall with the 2020-21 season getting 235.5 inches of snow and the 2021-22 season receiving 250 inches.

Projections show the Yampa Valley Regional Airport could have as many as 308,000 passengers per winter by 2041.

With this sharp increase on the horizon, the airport has rolled out a new terminal area plan.

The terminal area plan study shows the airport can expect a 2.27% increase in its annual growth rate. A forecast for the study also shows the airport could have to fill as many as 645 seats during peak hours from 2-4 p.m.

During a public open house to discuss the plan on Thursday, officials from the Yampa Valley Regional Airport presented the refined terminal concept. The project would be broken up into three phases and is estimated to have a $128 million price tag.

The refined terminal concept shows the airport is looking to add a two-level building to the west of the airport. The first level would replace and expand the area where outbound baggage is handled, and the second level would house four new departure lounges and ancillary spaces — three of which would have passenger boarding bridges.

The plan would also relocate the baggage claim, the baggage services office and the security screening checkpoint and expand the restroom. Ground transportation would be moved to the east side of the airport closer to County Road 51A.

A short-term parking reconfiguration would take place as a part of the new terminal plan and add 21 new spaces.

The presentation detailing the new area terminal plan noted that this is a “flexible, living document,” and aspects of the plan could change.

The terminal area plan can be found at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport’s website. Another open house will take place mid-summer, but the exact date has yet to be determined.

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