Steamboat Springs Starting this week, travelers can be dropped off in front of the terminal at Yampa Valley Regional Airport as long as the vehicle is not left unattended or parked.
If travelers do not abide by the rule, vehicles will be towed. If violations become a nuisance, airport officials will consider moving the loading zone back to where it is now, 225 feet from the terminal.
"We are trying to make going to the airport as convenient as we can for the public," said Jim Parker, airport director.
Parker stressed it is important for the loading zone to be used properly because the busiest time of the year, ski season, will get into full swing later this month.
"We are asking for the public's cooperation," he said. "People can't park and leave vehicles unattended."
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Federal Aviation Administration mandates have forced airports across the country to keep parked vehicles 300 feet away from terminals.
Because of the mandates, the Hayden airport's main parking lot was wiped out, which forced the airport to expand its remote lot and transform an employee lot for public use.
Along with the parking restrictions, the airport also had to move its passenger drop-off and pick-up zones away from the terminal.
However, the airport has gotten permission from the FAA for passengers to be dropped off or picked up right in front of the terminal.
The airport has designated five lanes for passengers to load and unload from vehicles.
The three lanes closest to the terminal are reserved for taxi and shuttle companies, Parker said.
These lanes are reserved for commercial vehicles because they transport 75 percent to 80 percent of the passengers who fly in and out of the airport, Parker said.
The two outer lanes are reserved for travelers who are being dropped off or picked up at the airport by a friend or relative.
Vehicles are not allowed to be left unattended because the airport does not have the security personnel to do vehicle checks and searches, Parker said.
During ski season, two armed National Guards-
men along with two Routt County Sheriff's deputies will be assigned inside the terminal at checkpoints and outside the facility to keep traffic moving.
Parker also encourages travelers who are going to park their vehicles at the airport to call for an update regarding the status of the parking lots.
"We have enough parking now," Parker said. "But for the holidays, we might not have enough.
"If we don't have parking, travelers are going to have to make other arrangements. We encourage that they get dropped off at the airport or take public transportation."