YVRA posts big December

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Yampa Valley Regional Airport logged its busiest December this decade and perhaps of all time last month with 17,259 passengers disembarking.

Strong numbers from American Airlines flights from Dallas and Chicago, and new service on Delta Airlines from Atlanta and Salt Lake City offset modest December declines reported by Continental (Houston and Newark, N.J.) and Northwest (Minneapolis).

American brought 4,005 passengers to YVRA last month, an improvement of 189 passengers over December 2002. Delta delivered 1,837 passengers in its first month flying into YVRA.

December never ranks among the busiest months at the airport because ski season jet flights don't start until Dec. 12 or, in some cases, Dec. 17.

Passengers arriving on Continental last month numbered 3,410, down from 3,814 in December 2002. Northwest was down just 34 passengers to 1,694 on its daily Airbus 319 from the Twin Cities.

United Express continues to account for the biggest share of arrivals at YVRA, both during the winter and outside ski season, when it represents the only commercial carrier at the airport.

In December 2002, Air Wisconsin (flying as United Express) brought 5,593 passengers to the valley.

This winter, it is splitting the commuter flights from Denver with Mesa Airlines. The two commuters combined delivered 5,330 passengers last month.

Weather diversions in late December this year contributed to reduced deplanements.

The biggest month for passenger arrivals at YVRA last year was March, with 25,619. February saw about 900 fewer passengers.

Steamboat's addition of Delta Airlines this winter afforded the resort access to a new hub in the southeastern United States with a Saturday flight from Atlanta. Delta also is flying a daily 737 from Salt Lake City, which is intended to improve access to the resort from the California coast.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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