City FYI: Clear skies ahead at Yampa Valley airports
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
We have two gems in the Yampa Valley: our Steamboat Springs Bob Adams Airport (SBS) located a few miles west of downtown off Routt County Road 129, and the Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN), located 22 miles west of Steamboat in Hayden off U.S. Highway 40. The two airports’ services complement each other nicely to serve our community.
Many guests and some residents still confuse the two airports, and the easiest way to explain the difference is HDN has commercial flights (United, Southwest, Jet Blue, American, Alaska and Delta) and SBS does not have commercial flights. Many times, an arriving guest in HDN needs to wait 30 to 45 minutes because their driver was sitting at the Steamboat Springs airport. Siri gets it wrong, too.
County Commissioner Tim Redmond and City Council member Robin Crossan represent you on the Yampa Valley Airport Commission. We are going to take a few minutes to talk about the services at each airport in our valley.
SBS is a general aviation airport, owned by the city of Steamboat Springs. The city also owns and operates the Fixed Base Operator on the field that provides services to the pilots and their aircraft. The airport is operationally self-sustaining and qualifies for federal and state funding for airport improvement projects.
This important asset to our community has 75 aircraft that call this field home, as well as numerous aircraft that stop in for short or long stays. Classic Air Medical personnel and equipment are based here and flew over 500 operations in 2020. Additionally, Mountain Aircraft Maintenance and Zephyr Helicopters are located here. Oh, did I forget to include the office space leased to Honey Stinger?
During summer 2020, Steamboat Springs Airport supported Forest Fire Operations. A U.S. Forest Service helibase was set up at SBS for fire-fighting operations. Equipment included helicopters that dropped thousands of gallons of water on fires close to home for a good part of the summer.
HDN is owned and operated by Routt County. Airport improvements are typically funded by federal (90%), state (5%) and airport (5%) contributions. HDN is self-sufficient with no funding from the county’s general fund. Over 500 members of our community are employed at HDN during the winter months, and there are 150 year-round positions contributing to our economy also. The runway is 10,000 feet long, only one of three on the Western Slope, designed to handle a Boeing 767 wide body aircraft.
Our HDN airport made more than $5 million in airport improvements in 2020, including a terminal expansion to accommodate Southwest Airlines, new roof, new PA system and re-branding. This year, new de-ice pads and additional paving for the paid parking lot will be accomplished. In 2021, HDN also added more year-round air service from both United and Southwest with lower fares and more flights available.
We hope you have a better understanding of our two community airports in the Yampa Valley. Feel free to stop by SBS FBO and watch the activity with the airplanes and helicopters coming and going. It’s a busy place.
If you are heading to HDN to catch a United or Southwest flight this summer, please give yourself at least one hour to check in and get through TSA as rules on cut-off times changed last year. There is a great observation area in the arrivals area if you want to see the commercial jets or even a sleek private jet coming or going. Don’t forget to stop by the 3 Wire Restaurant and the Tailwinds gift shop, both open this summer, too.
Tim Redmond serves on the Routt County Board of Commissioners and Robin Crossan is a member of Steamboat Springs City Council.
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