Hayden airport adds baggage carousel

Yampa Valley Regional Airport improvements to be celebrated at ribbon cutting Feb. 15

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— Airline passengers arriving at Yampa Valley Regional Airport are retrieving their luggage more easily this winter thanks to a second baggage carousel, airport Manager Dave Ruppel said Monday. That’s one of the improvements county officials plan to celebrate Feb. 15, when they formally celebrate the completion of the final phase of a multiyear project to modernize the passenger terminal.

The ribbon cutting should give people who haven’t had a chance to see the improvements the opportunity to get down there to see it, Routt County Board of Commissioners Chairman Doug Monger said Monday.

Ruppel said that although the new carousel is primarily devoted to regional jets, the airport crew is quick to shift luggage from larger aircraft arriving daily from cities such as Chicago and Houston when there are no smaller planes at the gate.

“Picking up your luggage is more congenial now,” Monger said. “People can actually get away from the gate in a more relaxed waiting area.”

The problem terminal workers previously had worked hard to manage was passengers from different flights who arrived in close proximity to one another crowding around the single luggage carousel. Frequently, passengers whose luggage wouldn’t arrive for minutes took up positions closest to the moving line of bags while the owners of those bags were three rows deep around the carousel.

The second carousel has succeeded in alleviating that congestion, Ruppel told the commissioners.

“You get the feeling the pressure is gone now,” he said.

Passengers also are going through a more streamlined security check-in process, Ruppel added, and that situation could improve by another increment when new scanners are installed at the airport. Faster elongated scanners for ski bags are a big part of the anticipated improvements. And new scanners for carry-on bags could arrive as soon as 2013, he said.

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