Resort execs hoping for Lynx flights


— Steamboat Springs resort officials still hope for a Lynx sighting at Yampa Valley Regional Airport this ski season, but they acknowledge that with every week that passes, opportunities are slipping away.

Lynx Aviation is a subsidiary of Frontier Airlines and has tentative plans to serve Rocky Mountain resort towns with its new fleet of 74-passenger Q400 turboprops. However, Frontier announced earlier this month that delays in getting federal certification have pushed the launch beyond Oct. 1.

Andy Wirth, marketing director for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. and its parent company, Intrawest, said Wednesday that the closer his resort gets to ski season, the greater the challenges in raising public awareness of the new flights in time to make an impact this winter.

"Everyone here is looking forward to welcoming Frontier (Lynx)," Wirth said. "But it's a new flight and in the fall timeframe, with all of Frontier's destination markets, it triples the challenge."

Wirth confirmed that Ski Corp.'s airline staff, which negotiates contracts on behalf of the resort community, has had productive talks with Frontier, leading local officials to anticipate twice-daily flights representing 20,000 additional ski season seats. Service has not been confirmed by the airline.

YVRA Manager Dave Ruppel confirmed there is an available ticketing desk at passenger check-in to accommodate Lynx should it receive its certification and choose to come to the county airport. The airline could share a gate with the SkyWest Delta connection.

"I think it's doable," Ruppel said.

Ski resorts in Colorado already are booking vacation flights for the December holidays. Without the Lynx seats on reservation computers, the first part of the ski season is booking up without filling the turboprops Frontier is counting on to eventually feed its larger jets based in Denver.

"Right now, there is very positive pressure in the pipeline for air seats," Wirth said. "They are up 5 to 8 percent over the same time last year."

The first three of Frontier's new destinations - Wichita, Kan., Rapid City, S.D., and Sioux City, Iowa - can be served by regional jets until Lynx gets its federal certification. Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas told the Steamboat Today in July that the remaining six destinations have been selected, but declined to confirm that YVRA is among the destination airports.

Wirth said in July that with Lynx service included, Steamboat would grow to 175,000 seats this ski season. On Wednesday, he emphasized the fact that even without the Lynx service this winter, 164,000 inbound seats represent a 7.8 percent increase from last ski season.

"Frontier's flights would be an added benefit, but it's not a foundation of our 2007-08 air program. Our business plan is built on what we know right now," Wirth said.


id04sp 9 years, 7 months ago

Maybe Frontier got a bargain on them. (See below --)

An SAS Q400 turboprop regional airliner -- the latest member of Bombardier's popular Dash 8/Q Series family of turboprop regional airliners -- was involved in a landing incident at Vilnius Airport in Lithuania at 1:48 a.m. local time on Wednesday while operating the airline's flight SK2748 from Copenhagen to Palanga, also in Lithuania.

All of the 48 passengers and four crewmembers on board the Q400 evacuated the aircraft safely after landing, according to SAS spokesman Stefan Lonnqvist, speaking to from the airline's headquarters in Stockholm.

The accident came less than two days after a Q400 carrying 69 passengers and four crewmembers on SAS' flight SK1209 from the Danish capital Copenhagen to Aalborg, also in Denmark, was involved in a landing incident at 4:10 p.m. local time at Aalborg on Sunday. Five passengers were slightly injured during the evacuation of the aircraft on landing.

Prior to Sunday's incident at Aalborg, the flightcrew identified problems with the Q400's main landing gear and they prepared a controlled emergency landing. Upon landing the aircraft's main landing gear collapsed.

SAS wasn't immediately able to confirm why the Q400 landed at Lithuania's capital Vilnius while operating a flight to the coastal town of Palanga, whether the Vilnius incident involved the Q400's landing gear, or the weather at the time the incident happened.

While Lonnqvist was able to confirm that SAS was immediately grounding the 21 other Q400s in its fleet, in addition to the two aircraft damaged in the two incidents, he could not confirm if the three additional Q400s, 17 Q100s and 10 Q300s operated by SAS Group's Norwegian regional subsidiary Wideroe Flyveselskap would also be grounded.

After Sunday's incident, SAS said in a statement that Bombardier "has confirmed that what happened in Aalborg has never occurred before with this aircraft type at any airline in the world."

However. Two Q-series airliners operated by Japanese airlines suffered nose landing gear malfunctions in March. A Q400 operated by All Nippon Airways had a landing gear problem that forced its pilots to make an emergency landing, with the aircraft's nose creating sparks as it hit the runway. A week later, the pilots of an Amakusa Airlines Q-series airliner had to engage their aircraft's landing gear manually after the automatic landing-gear extension system malfunctioned.

Following Sunday's incident at Aalborg, SAS said it was implementing "a number of extraordinary checks of the landing gear on the entire fleet of Q400 aircraft. These checks are additional to official requirements."

The Danish Accident Investigation Board has begun an official investigation into the cause of the Aalborg incident. SAS says it has grounded its fleet of Q400s "until further notice," following the Vilnius incident.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.