Yampa Valley Regional Airport arrives at busy season Dec. 17 | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Regional Airport arrives at busy season Dec. 17

Airport generates 488 winter jobs

The inaugural flight from San Diego to Yampa Valley Regional Airport on a 76-passenger Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 is due to arrive at 1:07 p.m., Dec. 17. The roundtrip flights operate twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays during ski season.
courtesy photo

— When the 2016-17 ski season in Steamboat Springs really takes off in mid-December with crowds of destination skiers, nearly 500 people, most of them seasonal workers, will be employed in businesses connected to Yampa Valley Regional Airport, including the airport owned and operated by Routt County itself.

Airport Director Kevin Booth said Nov. 22 the airport has filled its positions for the coming winter save for two openings — one for a custodian and another for a security worker.

But the number of people whose jobs are dependent on the airport located in the town of Hayden, 22 miles west of Steamboat Springs, is currently 488. That includes upwards of 100 who work for SkyWest, the ground handler for United Express, Delta and Alaska Airlines.

The airport is relatively quiet this week with daily roundtrips on United Express to and from Denver. But YVRA really comes to life in mid-December as traffic builds toward the Christmas and New Year’s rush.

“Our first big Saturday is Dec. 17,” Booth said. “Right now, we’re finishing training runway maintenance personnel and restaurant workers.

The Steamboat Resort Community relies primarily on lodging and accommodations taxes to provide four airlines with minimum revenue guarantees that secure commercial direct flights from major cities all over the country into the airport with its 10,000-foot runway.

The winter flight program kicks off Dec. 15 with the first flight from Dallas, Texas, operated by American Airlines with a 128-passenger Airbus A319. That same day American flight is scheduled to ferry passengers from Chicago, Illinois, to the Yampa Valley on a 65-passenger CR7 jet.

Flights from the remaining distant cities will flow into the airport Dec. 16 and 17, including direct roundtrips from Atlanta, Georgia, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, California, Minneapolis, Minneapolis; Newark, New Jersey; San Francisco, California, and Washington D.C., Dulles, as well as Seattle and San Diego.

Coincidentally, Dec. 17 is the day Alaska Airlines will begin Steamboat’s inaugural service from San Diego, with the flight on a 76-passenger Embraer 75 jet due in at 1:07 p.m. The roundtrip flights are offered twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Booth told the Routt County commissioners Nov. 21 that Alaska Airlines is promoting its new service between YVRA and San Diego, California, to travelers in Northwest Colorado this month with a $154 one-way fare that must be purchased by Nov. 30 and is good for travel between Dec. 17 and March 26, 2017.

Alaska Airlines is also offering $154 one-way flights from YVRA to Seattle, Washington, under the same terms.

The Seattle connection can also be used for travel to Portland, Oregon, for $182 one way, or Spokane, Washington, for $192, subject to the same terms as the San Diego and Seattle flights.

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

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