YVRA will open on schedule


— The Yampa Valley Regional Airport is scheduled to reopen on time June 14, despite a week of rainy weather that put construction behind earlier this month.

Since May 5, YVRA has been closed to allow construction crews to complete a $4.4 million runway overlay. The construction was planned to be completed in 40 days, which airport manager Jim Parker said is still the timeframe. Parker doesn't expect commercial flights to resume any earlier than June 14.

At the beginning of May, the project was delayed when a week of rainy weather kept the runway from being paved. Parker said the contractor, Connell Resources, has been able to make up time and put the project back on schedule.

The runway needs to be paved, grading has to be done and lights have to be reinstalled on the runway. Parker said the runway will be shut down for the length of the project.

The airport also has shut down airline booths, the gift shop and snack bar. The car rental offices are still open. Parker said the fixed-based portion of the airport, which operates the general aviation flights, has laid off some of its employees while the airport is closed.

When the airport reopens, Air Wisconsin, flying as United Express, will have three flights a day coming into the airport. Parker said he does not know how full those flights are, but tickets have been selling.

Last year at this time, Air Wisconsin was the only commercial carrier serving the airport with three daily flights, including one on a 50-passenger regional jet. United Express brought 1,617 passengers here in May and 2,077 during the full month of June. Departing planes were 45 percent full in May and 57 percent full in June in 2002.

On July 6, Mesa Airlines will replace Air Wisconsin as the airline company providing United Express service. Parker said he does not know if Mesa Airlines will continue with a similar schedule to Air Wisconsin.


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