The number of passengers arriving at Yampa Valley Regional Airport from Houston in June was up 42 percent from the same period last year.
The single daily flight operated on a 50-passenger Continental jet delivered 870 passengers in 22 days last month, said Tom Heilner, airline accounting manager for Routt County. That compares with 610 passengers during the flight's inaugural month in 2004.
Arriving planes averaged 80 percent full.
"It's exciting," said Janet Fischer, airline program director for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. "Our history shows that in the second year of new service, we build on market awareness."
The Ski Corp. serves as the operational manager of the summer jet program, and the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association takes the lead on marketing the daily flight from Houston.
During the first summer for the Houston flights last year, July and August saw much heavier traffic than June. The flight carried 1,220 arriving passengers in July and 1,036 in August.
Fischer said reservations are "building nicely" for July but she doesn't expect to see the same incremental growth that was recorded in June. The complete picture of the flight's performance won't be known until Continental supplies revenue or "yield" figures for the summer airline program, Fischer said. Continental would be able to build on the knowledge gained from last summer's flights to improve yields, she added. Typically, higher fares would be charged for high-demand flights, and the fares would be lowered to increase the attractiveness of flights on days when demand has shown to be lower.
Chamber Communications Director Riley Polumbus said her office used Ski Corp. customer lists to target marketing for the summer flights. In addition to a pair of billboards in Houston and a Web presence, the Chamber sent 45,000 direct mail pieces to households in Florida and Texas whose occupants are known to travel to Steamboat Springs.
United Express, with four daily flights from Den--ver, still carries the majority of passengers arriving at YVRA in the summer. However, Mesa Airlines, operating as United Express, was off slightly from June 2004. United Express delivered 2,613 passengers last month, compared with 2,733 in June 2004.
United Express delivered 3,604 passengers in July 2004.
United Express and Cont--inental combined to bring 12,651 arrivals to YVRA in June, July and August 2004.
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