Seven daily flights now departing from Hayden airport | CraigDailyPress.com

Seven daily flights now departing from Hayden airport

Regional airport flight increase slated to last until Labor Day weekend

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— Flight activity at Yampa Valley Regional Airport (YVRA) has increased slightly this summer and will stay that way for another week. Airport Director Jim Parker said the county has signed a lease agreement with Great Lakes Aviation, working as a commuter airline under the United Express banner, to increase the number of daily commuter flights to Denver to seven.

“After Labor Day weekend, it drops to five flights a day,” Parker said. Those changes are expected to happen Sept. 7.

Parker said the decrease in flights is a seasonal change.

“After Labor Day, they’re looking at a seasonal shift until ski season, when there will be another big change,” Parker said.

The Yampa Valley Regional Airport handled 110,621 enplanements (people who boarded an airplane) in 1998 and seats are projected to be up almost 10 percent this year, according to county officials.

Great Lakes Aviation had actually been operating at YVRA since May, Parker said. The lease agreement formalizes the commuter airline’s arrangement, which is similar to the one between the airport and Air Wisconsin.

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Great Lakes and Air Wisconsin both work as United Express from the same gate at the Hayden airport. Great Lakes flies the Beechcraft 1900, which seats 19 people.

Air Wisconsin flies the Dornier 328, which holds 32 people.

Routt County Commissioner Ben Beall asked airport officials this week whether they were getting complaints about the smaller plane, as they have in the past.

Operations Manager Burt VerHaar said no.

“It’s been really positive for us out there because of the added flights and flexibility in scheduling,” VerHaar said.

Seven planes depart Yampa Valley Regional Airport Monday through Saturday at 7:40 a.m., 9:10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:10 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, the airport has eight planes departing, with an additional one leaving about noon.

Rod Hanna, vice president of marketing for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., said the summber schedule is an improvement over last year.

“It’s my view that United saw the demand here and beefed up the schedule,” Hanna said. “Having two carriers has really helped.”