Steamboat Springs 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