Our View: Airport improvements take flight


— After five years and tens of millions of dollars in improvements, Yampa Valley Regional Airport is becoming the kind of facility that can help ensure the future success of our tourist economy.

The 2007-08 ski season flight program kicked off last week when a pair of 188-passsenger Boeing 757s touched down on American Airlines flights from Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago. Arriving passengers stepped off the planes and into an airport terminal greatly transformed from the second-rate facility it was just a few years ago.

YVRA is in the midst of a three-phase improvement project. The first phase included a 4,300-square-foot terminal expansion that created additional room for passenger check-in and baggage screening. The addition eliminated the need for a heated tent in which passengers lined up to have their baggage screened. The cost was $832,000, with federal funds paying about 90 percent of it.

The second phase included re-organization and paving of the airport's parking lots and passenger departure and arrival zones, an expansion of the airport apron to accommodate heavy Boeing 757s, and a 23,500-square-foot terminal addition that created significantly larger passenger areas, new ticket counters and a snack bar seating area on the ground level. Phase 2 cost about $16 million.

The third phase, scheduled to begin in 2009, includes expanding the baggage claim area, adding a second baggage carousel and potentially adding ski- and snowboard-specific baggage handling equipment.

There have been speed bumps along the way, including a problematic automatic parking gate and delays in other project areas. But the bigger picture reveals an airport that is worthy of our world-class resort community. It appears airport users are beginning to agree.

In a survey commissioned recently by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., airport users gave scores of 8 or above (on a 1 to 10 scale) to the availability of desired flight dates, airport terminal cleanliness, airline employee service, security check procedure and directional signage. Flight costs and airport concession services - with scores of 6.8 and 6.2, respectively - were the attributes that satisfied customers the least.

The survey also underscored the economic impact YVRA has in Routt County. Only 15 of surveyed passengers spent less than $1,000 during their visit. On a scale from 1 to 10, 48 percent of passengers said they were extremely likely (a score of 10) to recommend Steamboat to a friend, family member or colleague. Twenty-six percent of passengers had an annual household income of $250,000 or more.

Additionally, 58 percent of passengers rated the availability of air service directly to YVRA as "extremely important" to their decision to come to Steamboat. To that end, Ski Corp., the Local Marketing District and the Fly Steamboat program have consistently worked to expand the flight schedule at YVRA. Ski Corp. officials have negotiated flights with five carriers for service from 10 major airports this winter, including all three major New York City-area airports. That includes daily flights from Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas, Houston, Salt Lake City and Denver.

As we've said before, Steamboat Springs is a destination ski resort that relies on air travel to attract visitors. Routt County commissioners and county officials such as Manager Tom Sullivan have led the way on the critical improvements to Yampa Valley Regional Airport. And with the biggest ski season flight schedule in our history now under way, we're starting to see those efforts and dollars pay off.


blackthroatedwind 9 years, 4 months ago

F'd Over's name says it all. Yet another "aginner" with a victim complex.

Agginer - One who is "agin" this and "agin" that but not "FOR" anything!


blackthroatedwind 9 years, 4 months ago

You, F'd Over, must have your head in the sand. If you would take the time to look at the numbers instead of listening to conjecture, you would find that elphaba is right.


effdover 9 years, 4 months ago

Now there's an airport we won't object to supporting. Where would be be without YVRA?

On the other hand, we MUST get rid of the money sucking Steamboat Airport.

Where would we be without that slab of asphalt? Exactly where we are right now with a lot more money in the city coffers.

Do not buy into the myth that the FAA will fund all the improvements needed to make it a viable airport.


elphaba 9 years, 4 months ago

Please prove the "money sucking" theory of yours. Facts prove that isn't true.....but don't confuse yourself with facts-you have bought hook, line and sinker into a myth.


effdover 9 years, 4 months ago

Spoken like another plane owner! Or someone sympathetic to the special needs of a very small and elite group.


elkeye 9 years, 4 months ago

The Steamboat Springs Airport (Bob Adams Field) has received a subsidy from the city for years.

The annual city subsidy of hundreds of thousands of dollars has been required to make the bond payments on the terminal building.

While an annual city subsidy of several hundred thousand dollars may not be required after the terminal bonds are paid off, what plans are there for the airport/airport users to re-pay the city for past funds expended?

If one ignores the million(s) of dollars of bond payments made with city funds, the income rental from the terminal may offset some future airport expenses. BUT....

I think most individuals would like someone (other than themselves) to make the mortgage payments on an office building and then be allowed to keep the rental income for themselves.

Sweet deal!


WZ4EVER 9 years, 4 months ago

If you want to see some really scary "subsidies" take the same hard look at Howelsen Hill, the Tennis Center, and yes, even the golf course (and be sure to include the lodging tax dollars as a subsidy). The City "subsidy" per person using those facilities is much bigger than the airport.

Public facilities are ALWAYS supported by the broader population. I don' play golf, use Bob Adams very infrequently, haven't been on Howelsen for years, and don't play tennis even....but agree that these facilities are important to the community and worth my support.


elphaba 9 years, 4 months ago

The "business" of government is subsidies. Government, by definition, collects tax dollars and uses them for the greater good (subsidies). Airports across the nation fall in that category--- but here in Steamboat a very few people want the airport land for private development and have fooled a few more into thinking that "subsidizing" the airport isn't the same. Should the City default on the bonds for the terminal and jeopardize all future borrowing capacity by the City so that a certain former councilman can make a huge quick buck?


dogd 9 years, 4 months ago

FDOVER: You must work for the blood-sucking developer trying to negatively impact our community with his own little fly-in ghetto. Ain't happening.


jeep 9 years, 4 months ago

dogd - you hit that nail right on the head.


JLM 9 years, 4 months ago

Well there is jut about nothing as well received than a bunch of j-offs talking about something they know literally next to nothing about. The wicked subsidies ya'll are whining about are what makes SBS well SBS and without them the touristas would stop coming and the locals would be left with their.....in their hands and not a whole lot else.

People are not coming to SBS to see ya'll, they're coming to enjoy themselves by road and plane and they have got to have something to do when they get here.

And, oh yeah, a bit of golf, a bit of skiing, a bit of old fashioned friendly hospitality ain't all bad.

Grow up and then shut up.

Have a Merry Damn Christmas, ya'll!


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.