YVRA seeks funds for new flights

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Yampa Valley Regional Air-port is trying to raise money for new flights this fall.

Delta Airlines will offer daily flights to Salt Lake City from September to December, in addition to the year-round daily flights to Denver on United Express.

From Salt Lake City, passengers can connect to more than 80 cities in the United States.

To pay the minimum revenue guarantee to Delta, the airport is trying to raise money throughout the Yampa Valley.

The airport guaranteed Delta $300,000 in revenue for the fall flights. If revenues fall short of the guarantee, the airport makes up the difference.

Ann Copeland, YVRA's manager of landside and terminal operations, said the airport still needs to raise about $50,000 to cover Delta's guarantee. The rest will be covered by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Delta will bill the airport in early 2006 for the fall flights. The amount it charges will depend on how full the Salt lake City flights are.

"If we fill the seats, we won't have to pay it," Copeland said.

The city of Craig, town of Hayden, Craig Economic Devel-opment Partnership and the city of Steamboat Springs have pledged money.

Copeland discussed the fall flights Tuesday with Moffat County commissioners, but she didn't make a formal request for funds. She did, however, ask the commissioners to leave room in their 2006 budget for a request from the airport.

The commissioners did not make a decision Tuesday.

Commissioner Darryl Steele said he didn't want to make a decision when Commissioner Saed Tayyara wasn't present. Tayyara was at a Colorado River District meeting Tuesday.

Continental flies to YVRA from Houston during the summer. Copeland said YVRA offered the fall flight to Continental but that the airline's minimum revenue guarantee was too high.

During the summer and ski season, the vast majority of passengers passing through the airport are headed for Steamboat, but during hunting season, Copeland said the focus shifts to the west end of the valley.

"These flights are going to be a big plus for Craig, Hayden and Moffat County," Copeland said. "Hunting season is to Moffat County what ski season is to Steamboat Springs."

The 71-minute flight to Salt Lake City will be on a 70-passenger plane. The flight to Denver is on a 34-passenger plane.

Copeland said the bigger plane is good for hunting traffic because hunters tend to have a lot of equipment.

"Cargo areas are relative to the size of the plane," Copeland said. The bigger plane means more cargo room for hunting equipment.


Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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