The Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has confirmed Delta Air Lines will begin flying a nonstop Saturday flight from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport into Yampa Valley Regional Airport near Hayden this winter.
Delta began its inaugural flights into the Yampa Valley last winter with a Saturday flight from Atlanta and daily jet flights from Salt Lake City.
Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for Ski Corp., said the weekly flight from Cincinnati is intended to work in concert with the daily Salt Lake City flights. The option of returning from a ski vacation via Salt Lake City at midweek is essential to making weekly air service effective, he said. There are several direct flights a day from Salt Lake City to Cincinnati.
"The Atlanta Saturday nonstop proved to be a tremendous success last year, and part of what made it work was the existence of the daily 737 out of Salt Lake City," Wirth said.
Delta will fly a 183-seat Boeing 757 to YVRA each Saturday, beginning Dec. 18. The flight will depart Cincinnati (CVG) at 4:10 p.m. and arrive in Steamboat/Hayden at 5:10 p.m.
The plane will remain on the ground overnight and depart for Cincinnati at 9:20 a.m. Sunday, arriving at 2:10 p.m.
Wirth said Steamboat didn't seek the Cincinnati flight but was exploring what it would take to secure a second weekly flight from Atlanta. It was Delta that suggested the Cincinnati flight, Wirth said, because it is one of its primary domestic hubs, with connecting flights up and down the mid-Atlantic seaboard.
Examples of those cities include New Haven, Conn., and Greensboro, N.C., which see several daily departures to Cincinnati on Delta connections, operated by Comair airline, flying 50-passenger regional jets.
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is 12 miles outside Cincinnati, across the Ohio River in Kentucky. The airport is 75 miles from Dayton, Ohio, and 115 miles from Columbus, Ohio. The airport is 90 miles from Kentucky's largest city of Louisville.
Delta also operates direct flights to Cincinnati from London Gatwick Airport, opening another gateway for European vacationers taking advantage of the favorable currency exchange rates against the American dollar.
Wirth said the Steamboat Ski Area's research shows the greater Cincinnati area has a good base of people who take ski vacations.
Delta is working with its labor unions in an effort to stay out of bankruptcy. Wirth said that working closely with United Airlines the past two years has demonstrated that air carriers can function very well while reorganizing under Chapter 11. He added the flying public is relatively unconcerned with airline bankruptcies.