Steamboat Springs National Guard soldiers remained on duty at the security checkpoint in the terminal at Yampa Valley Regional Airport Friday, along with an armed Routt County Sheriff's Deputy.
Airport Manager Jim Parker said he's been informed the soldiers will leave any day as part of an announced statewide withdrawal. But the timetable hasn't been announced, and a sheriff's deputy will remain in place at the checkpoint indefinitely. Parker said he expects the soldiers from the Colorado National Guard to remain in place pending finalization of an agreement between the county and the Federal Transportation Safety Administration.
Both the soldiers and the armed deputy have been in place to bolster security since Sept. 14, 2001, when the airport reopened after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The new agreement with the federal government covers the terms of Routt County, as owner of the airport, providing a deputy whenever carry-on luggage screening is taking place at the airport. The deadline for the county to submit an approved agreement was Friday, and the county met it, Parker said. In fact, the agreement might already be in place had an e-mail form sent by the federal agency not been unworkable.
The county was charging airlines additional fees to offset the cost of the heightened security during ski season. The new agreement states it is the intention of the FTSA to reimburse for the costs of keeping a deputy in place at the airport, providing Congress appropriates funding. In the meantime, Parker said, the personnel costs will be charged to the airport budget.
YVRA has been down to just three daily roundtrips a day between the airport east of Hayden and Denver International since the last week of ski season.
Parker said he doesn't foresee the frequency of flights increasing this summer.
Currently, he said, there would not be a need for a deputy at the checkpoint after 3 p.m., when the last departure of the day should be on its way.