Airlines making new offers

Fares from Newark trimmed to boost midweek bookings

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— Acknowledging softness in midweek reservations this winter, the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has begun convincing its airline partners to cut fares into Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Continental Airlines has announced it will sell roundtrip tickets for its direct flights from Newark to Yampa Valley Regional Airport for $228 midweek and $298 on weekends through April 5.

Ski Corp. Vice President of Marketing Andy Wirth said American Airlines has agreed to make a similar offer on its direct flights from Dallas, and he is lobbying Continental to reduce fares from Houston.

The Ski Corp., together with other elements of the resort business community, contracts with the airlines to provide direct ski season jet flights to YVRA. They provide minimum revenue guarantees to ensure the jets will fly, but it is up to the airlines to set ticket prices.

"We were able to make our case, and the airlines agreed," Wirth said. "In the case of fares that are hub-inbound (for example Newark, Dallas or Chicago direct to YVRA), we do have a lot of say on those fares."

Wirth said he expects the low fares to reduce pressure to discount lodging packages to entice vacationers to visit Steamboat this winter.

The reduced Newark fares are available for Sunday through Thursday departures, returning to Newark Monday through Friday. They require a 14-day advance purchase. Tickets must be purchased within 24 hours.

Continental offers daily direct flights from Newark on a 124-passenger 737-700 for portions of the winter. At other times, service to YVRA during the week is via Houston.

Nonstop service from Newark runs daily Dec. 19-Jan. 5 and Feb. 13-April 5. The nonstop operates Saturdays only Jan. 6-Feb. 12, with Sunday through Friday service via Houston.

The inbound flight departs Newark at 9 a.m., arriving in Hayden at 11:38 p.m. Outbound service departs YVRA at 12:40 p.m., arriving back in Newark at 6:15 p.m.

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