Airport seminar coming Wednesday |

Airport seminar coming Wednesday

Event informs about subsidized flight program

Collin Smith

If you go

What: Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership panel discussion on regional air transportation. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch can be purchased from Holiday Inn.

When: 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Holiday Inn of Craig

Air transportation, though not the most visible industry around Moffat County, is important to the regional economy, said Darcy Trask, director of Craig Moffat Economic Development Partnership.

The organization plans to host a panel discussion at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday about the issues surrounding the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden and the Moffat County Regional Airport in Craig, as well as future plans for each.

Guests on the panel include YVRA Assistant Manager Dean Smith, MCRA board chair Ray Beck, and Mike Forney, a Yampa Valley SCORE volunteer who will give a brief presentation on the two airports’ regional economic benefits.

There also will be a discussion about a new radar system to be implemented at each airport. The system will make it easier for pilots to land and may help increase future traffic.

Trask said the event will be especially valuable for those in any tourism-related industry.

In addition to giving an overview of how many outside visitors fly into YVRA each year, Forney also will give an update on the subsidized flight program, which guarantees that commercial airliners will provide daily flights to the region.

“One of the questions I have is, how much does Moffat County benefit from those flights?” Trask said.

Both airports serve different needs and are “critically important,” she added.

The commercial flights in and out of YVRA allow greater numbers of tourists to visit Steamboat Springs and Craig each year for skiing, hiking and hunting.

They also allow local residents an easy option to make their own vacation or business trips.

MCRA, which Trask called a general aviation airport, seems to be important for many of the larger companies doing business in Moffat County, such as Tri-State Generation & Transmission, and also provides a nearby airstrip for emergency services, such as search and rescue operations and firefighting.

EDP’s air transportation panel is part of series to strengthen local businesses through education, Trask said.

Next in line for the group is a second presentation about U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for rural businesses, which Trask said probably will happen in January or February.

“We certainly do try to bring seminars to the community that can benefit existing businesses and others in the community,” she said.