Doubling up on summer flights to and from Denver
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There’s tentatively, good news this coming spring for travelers who rely on Yampa Valley Regional Airport to get them to Denver International Airport and connecting flights.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Director of Airline Programs Janet Fischer told members of the committee that oversees the use of city lodging taxes to support the flight program, that the current schedule for post-ski-season United Express flights to Denver show twice daily roundtrips in spring, continuing throughout the summer and fall.
Fischer told the members of the Local Marketing District board that it’s inevitable that there will be schedule adjustments, “I’m sure it will change,” she said. But she’s cautiously optimistic that the two daily roundtrips will remain in place.
“It looks really positive for right now at two (flights), but that could change,” too, Fischer said.
Fischer also confirmed that the daily summer roundtrip from Houston, Texas, to the Yampa Valley is back this year on United Express with a schedule that brings the flight in at 8 p.m. The aircraft remains on the tarmac at Yampa Valley Regional Airport overnight to allow an 8:10 a.m. departure that arrives at its destination in time to match up with banks of flights in Houston.
In 2017, Denver service on United was cut to one flight a day in spring, summer and fall.
In the summer of 2018, beginning April 16-22 (closing day at the ski area is April 15) United Express flights to Denver will be flown by Trans States Airline. The current schedule shows twice-daily flights continuing April 23-Nov. 21 with Trans States alternating with SkyWest airlines.
Service from Houston begins July 1 and continues through Aug. 14-15, offering eight more roundtrip flights than were flown in 2017.
San Diego beaches anyone?
Fischer also introduced special ski season airfares for flights booked by 5 p.m. Jan. 31, including nonstop flights from Houston to Steamboat for $360, and one-way fares from San Diego to Steamboat for $141, for travel through March 25. There are incentives to save 20 percent on lifts, lodging and lessons. For travelers who book through Steamboat Reservations, there is a $100 retail credit at ski area shops.
San Diego and Houston are just two, among 26 destination cities with special airfares that loaded on travel booking computers Jan. 16, Fischer said.
“We have a lot of cities with special fares on United,” she added.
Airline program performance
The real business of the Local Marketing District Board is to oversee the fiscal performance of the ski season flight program. Fisher told the board the earliest numbers on how the flights are performing against minimum revenue guarantees that are pledged to the airlines ,won’t come in until the end of this month, and she will present them at the March meeting.
City of Steamboat Springs Finance Director Kim Weber told the board that the accommodation tax that funds a large percentage of the annual cost of the airline program was trending one percent down in late 2017, but she’s confident receipts will significantly surpass budget targets thanks to a strong month of December.
“You will be way above the $1.6 million projected,” Weber said.
Uber paves the way for Lyft?
Yampa Vally Regional Airport Director Kevin Booth confirmed to the LMD Board that after lengthy negotiations, Uber has signed a contract that legitimizes its presence at the airport. It has been assigned a staging area where drivers wait for fares.
“Uber is officially legal,” at the airport, Booth said. “Lyft called us the day after Uber signed the contract.”
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