Airline passengers asked to arrive early at YVRA

Construction has begun on 4,300 square-foot expansion project

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— Departing passengers at Yampa Valley Regional Airport are being asked to arrive 90 minutes early for their flights this fall while construction is under way on a $940,000 addition to the airport's check-in facility.

Carol Ficker, station manager for Mesa Airlines/United Express, said beginning Monday, departing passengers are being asked to report to the blue steel building at the west end of the terminal for check-in. After checking their bags, passengers will walk back outside and enter another set of doors to go through security at the gate.

The inconvenience this summer and fall will facilitate a permanent expansion to the front of the airport's check-in facility, allowing luggage screening to take place indoors this winter. The 4,300-square-foot expansion will include cuing, ticketing, baggage check and baggage screening areas.

Last ski season, the first that check-in luggage was screened for traces of explosives, the check-in process started under a heated tent. The tents proved to be an expensive alternative -- Airport Manager Jim Parker said the cost of renting the tents was $40,000. They also proved to be expensive to heat.

Loui Antonucci, of Snow Country Construction, said demolition work on the front of the check-in portion of the airport will begin today. Concrete ramps in front of the building, false parapets and its exterior wall must be taken down before construction on the new addition can begin. The area has been fenced off from the public.

This fall's construction project represents the first phase of a multi-year project at the airport terminal.

The goal is to have the addition completed by ski season. When it's done, the exterior of the airport's arrival area will have more of a mountain feel, according to architect Gary Ross. Materials will include stone veneer and heavy timbers. The main room will have high ceilings and benefit from the natural light afforded by a 21-foot skylight.

Ficker said departure times for Mesa's three daily flights to Denver International Airport are 7:15 a.m., 10:37 a.m. and 1:42 p.m.

Ficker reminded the traveling public that the airport's public areas are closed late afternoons, before reopening in the evening to accommodate the last arriving flight of the day at 9:05 p.m.

The airport is open every day from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It reopens every evening from 7:30 to 10 p.m.


-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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