Thursday, October 26, 2006
Steamboat Springs Another large plane will provide nonstop service from the Big Apple this ski season.
Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., announced Wednesday that Delta has added a Saturday flight from New York City's LaGuardia Airport into Yampa Valley Regional Airport on a 183-passenger Boeing 757.
"The strength of the New York market is such that we are able to add this," Wirth said at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's annual meeting and luncheon. "There is no stronger market than the New York market."
The eight scheduled flights will begin Dec. 23 and 30. Then six consecutive Saturday flights are scheduled to begin Feb. 17. The addition of the LaGuardia flight means there are more than 156,000 plane seats available for the winter season, a record for Steamboat.
"This season represents the largest increase in airline seats - roughly 16 percent - in the past decade for the program," Wirth said.
The number of booked passengers is up 7.8 percent from this time last year and 20 percent ahead of two years ago, he said.
In addition to the LaGuardia flight, Delta offers daily nonstop service from Atlanta and twice-daily service from Salt Lake City.
With the Atlanta connection, Wirth said LaGuardia travelers will have a back-up, and there will be more connecting flight options if they choose not to stay in Steamboat an entire week.
An existing Continental Airlines flight already services the Northeast with Saturday service to Newark, N.J. The LaGuardia flight will provide another option to Steamboat-bound travelers, and it will allow Ski Corp. to be more competitive with other resorts, Wirth said.
"LaGuardia is actually the preferred airport for many people who live in New York City and other areas," Wirth said. "It allows a great deal of flexibility."
It is unusual to add a flight so close to the beginning of the ski season, but the market demand - along with the $18 million YVRA airport expansion - made the additional flight feasible.
Wirth said he met with Delta in early summer about adding the flight. They met again a month ago and had what Wirth described as "accelerated discussions."