Passengers unload the Minneapolis Delta Connection flight Dec. 26 at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Flights from Houston, Atlanta and Minneapolis were canceled Wednesday, but it was unclear whether the reason was heavy snow falling in the Yampa Valley.

Matt Stensland/file

Passengers unload the Minneapolis Delta Connection flight Dec. 26 at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Flights from Houston, Atlanta and Minneapolis were canceled Wednesday, but it was unclear whether the reason was heavy snow falling in the Yampa Valley.

3 Yampa Valley Regional Airport flights canceled during Wednesday storm

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Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:30 a.m., Jan. 31, to include comments by airport manager Dave Ruppel.

Airline flights destined for Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Wednesday were nearly 70 percent booked with 675 passengers, but some of those travelers weren’t going to make it to Steamboat after their flights were canceled.

A flight update emailed by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. shortly before 3:15 p.m. Wednesday confirmed that the Houston flight on a 160-passenger United Airlines 737-800 was canceled because of weather. The Federal Aviation Administration’s flight delay update showed that delays in Houston were a nominal 15 minutes or less.

Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said late Wednesday afternoon that the airport never closed and conditions on the runways were good. However, the Houston flight circled the airport several times during a period when ground visibility was low and ultimately diverted to Denver.

Aircraft bound for major hub airports Wednesday afternoon — including Chicago, New York and Atlanta — were being held on the ground in their cities of origin. That’s a factor that not infrequently reverberates throughout the nation’s air transportation system.

The local flight status report indicated that no reason was specified for cancellation of Delta’s 160-passenger 737-800 from Atlanta. It was the same for Delta’s 74-passenger ERJ-175 from Minneapolis.

United Airlines flights to and from Denver earlier in the day operated, but flight 5602 from Denver was delayed until 5:10 p.m. from the scheduled 4:30 p.m.

There also was no flight from Chicago scheduled Wednesday because this happens to be one of five weeks this winter when the otherwise daily American airlines flights from Chicago are suspended Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Mark Ruckman 1 year, 2 months ago

Another story to consider is the volume of flights between Denver & Hayden that are cancelled by Republic Airlines who flies for United.

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John Weibel 1 year, 2 months ago

Really what the air committee should consider is a year round big flight with a layover in Denver that leaves here in the AM and returns at night with continued the flight continuing on to Chicago three days a week and San Fran 3 days a week and who knows where the rest of the time - or something like that.

That way the flights do not get cancelled. Either that or figure out how to start your own airline in the boat with one leased plane - as a local pilot has spoke of doing.

In reality, the direct flights probably would be better if they simply were direct with a layover. The people on the flight would not need to deplane and that would make their trip almost the same as a direct flight. You also would probably have more consistent service year round, with this type of set up, as opposed to multiple small planes. Just like train service in Europe only happens once a day in some places, maybe this region is better served with limited but consistent flights. Then find a caterer to staff the restaurant or chocolate soup could make their treats their when flights are not coming in all the time.

Those working at the airport might prefer more flights, but maybe there is a way to find gainful employment doing other county jobs the rest of the day in the airport.

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