Airline capacity into Yampa Valley Regional Airport ramps up |

Airline capacity into Yampa Valley Regional Airport ramps up

SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Express, will fly the new generation Embraer 170 70-passenger jet once daily between Yampa Valley Regional Airport and Denver International April 5 through May 4.

— Yampa Valley Regional Airport was preparing to be extra busy Saturday with the combined number of inbound and outbounds seats bumped up for the Presidents' Day Weekend and spring break to follow.

"We've been told the numbers for Saturday look like 3,388 (seats), and 2,200 is a big day for us," YVRA Director Kevin Booth said. "We've got new weekend flights beginning."

Booth was updating the board of directors of the Local Marketing District that works with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. executives to execute contracts primarily for ski season air service but also summer commercial flights into the airport 23 miles west of Steamboat Springs in Hayden.

Ski Corp. Director of Airline Programs Janet Fischer confirmed that through April 1, United Airlines has added a Saturday evening flight from Houston. The aircraft will remain on the apron overnight before returning to Houston on Sunday mornings.

American Airlines is adding a second Saturday flight from Chicago, and United has resumed daily service from the Windy City after operating Saturdays only for much of January and early February.

Additionally, service from Newark and Washington Dulles has increased from Saturday service only to roundtrips both Saturday and Sunday. And Delta's direct service from Atlanta has returned to daily flights with the resumption of Tuesday flights to YVRA.

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Daily flights on United Express from Denver have increased for the last push of ski season from two to three flights daily.

'Blues in Dallas'

Loyal Steamboat visitors from Dallas won't have access to daily summer flights to Yampa Valley Regional in 2017, as they did for the first time in 2016.

Fischer told the Marketing District Board that the financial performance of last summer's flights was positive, but American Airlines chose not to make the aircraft and crews available this year.

"We'll try again in 2018," Fischer said.

However, Steamboat's long-standing summer service from Houston on United Airlines is close to being finalized.

"It's not loaded (on airline computers), but it’s looking good and will be very similar to last year," with service July 1 to Aug. 14, Fischer said.

Fischer also reported that United Express will shorten the period in the spring, when daily service from Denver to the Yampa Valley is reduced to a single flight from April 5 through June 7. In 2016, there was only one daily roundtrip beginning in April and continuing all the way to July 1, she said.

The limitations of the single daily flight schedule this spring will be mitigated by the use of a 70-passenger jet, first a SkyWest Embraer 170 from April 5 to May 4, and then a GoJet CR7 from May 5 to June 7.

The two daily flights from June 8 through Nov. 21 will be on 50-passenger CRJ 50-passenger jets flown by Sky West.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1