Pressure’s on United Express to improve service |

Pressure’s on United Express to improve service

Local officials are airing their gripes about United Express.

Complaints about the service at Yampa Valley Regional Airport aren’t new to United Express.

But airport administrators hope that a letter signed by Routt and Moffat county commissioners and officials from the Craig and Steamboat Springs city councils, the Steamboat Springs Cham–ber Resort As—-sociation and Steam–boat Ski and Resort Corp. will turn some heads.

The letter asks the company to look at its customer service issues at the airport and see whether it can fix the problems, said Ann Copeland, manager of terminal and landside operations at the airport.

Craig City Council member Tom Gilchrist, also an airport advisory board member, said United Express has missed or canceled more flights than any other airlines flying out of Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

In one two-week period, United Express canceled 33 flights. The airport’s four other carriers missed a total of four in the same period.

“The board felt up front that the only way to get United to do something was to take really drastic action,” Gilchrist said.

Copeland said passengers have turned their ire from the airport to the airline.

But that hasn’t made a difference. The airline has turned a deaf ear to pleas from Steamboat Ski Corp. for improved service, airport administrator Dave Ruppel said.

“This has been an issue they have worked with United on for a long time, and I don’t think United has given much credence to the discussion,” he said.

The problem, Ruppel said, is that the airline United Express contracts with to provide the service, Mesa Airlines, has old equipment that is less able to endure adverse weather conditions than other airplanes.

“We hope to convince United Express that United and the community would benefit from having regional jet service,” Ruppel said. “I think United will respond favorably.”

United Express is expected to receive the letter next week.

Officials with United Express could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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