YVRA anticipating Frontier service | CraigDailyPress.com

YVRA anticipating Frontier service

Service to and from DIA expected to be added this fall

Brandon Gee

— Year-round Frontier Airlines service with Denver is likely to begin this fall at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, officials said Monday.

The service would bolster what will already be YVRA’s biggest winter air program ever beginning this ski season.

“I’d characterize the conversations with Frontier as positive and productive, but nonetheless, not concluded,” said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.

While not official, Wirth said, “I’d put money on it,” when asked to assess Steamboat Springs’ chances of landing the service.

Frontier announced last year that it was expanding its Denver-based fleet by purchasing 10 new 74-passsenger turbo-prop Bombardier Q-400 planes for regional service. Frontier Airlines President and CEO Jeff Potter said the airline sent out a “request for proposal” to 65 communities and heard back from 62 of them. Steamboat was one of those communities, Wirth said.

“However, we had to narrow down this great list of opportunities to what will ultimately be about nine new cities that we will serve with the Q-400 by December 2007,” Potter said.

Potter is a former YVRA employee and his in-laws live in Hayden.

The first three of Frontier’s new destinations – Wichita, Kan., Rapid City, S.D., and Sioux City, Iowa – were announced last week. The remaining new destinations will be announced in about a month, Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas said. Hodas would not comment on whether or not YVRA is likely to be chosen.

“We can’t talk about additional markets until we make the announcement,” Hodas said. “But the next round of announcements will likely include some Colorado mountain communities.

Wirth’s confidence in winning the Frontier service led him to include the service in an estimate last month of 175,000 available seats this ski season. Wirth said Frontier would be a popular addition to YVRA’s existing service.

“I get stopped in the grocery store and restaurants all the time by people lobbying for Frontier,” Wirth said. “It’s clear and evident that they area a popular carrier in our area.”

Frontier’s subsidiary Lynx Aviation would operate the flights.

To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com.

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