DeAnna Roberts unloads a bag from a United Airlines flight at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The airport will have new nonstop jet service from Houston this summer.

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DeAnna Roberts unloads a bag from a United Airlines flight at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The airport will have new nonstop jet service from Houston this summer.

Steamboat Springs lands new nonstop summer air service from Houston

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Summer YVRA flights

Houston to YVRA: Departs at 7:34 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays

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— Texans who want a reprieve from blistering heat and sticky humidity this summer now should find it easier to make a getaway to the Yampa Valley.

And business travelers here again will have another major airport to fly to from Hayden outside of ski season.

Starting June 26, Yampa Valley Regional Airport will have nonstop summer air service to and from Houston.

United Express will offer the four flights each week on a 50-seat regional jet through Sept. 1.

The service will have connections to and from 60 domestic cities and 12 international destinations.

“We thought that Houston, with all its connections both nationally and internationally, would be a good connection point for us as an alternative to Denver,” Chuck Porter, the head of the Local Marketing District that is financially backing the flights, said Friday. “Texas is a good summer market, as well. We’re excited about it.”

The new flights were made possible by the strength of the reserves of the Local Marketing District and are backed by a minimum revenue guarantee.

Because of a combination of the reserve and the winter air program’s performance last year, the board had about $250,000 to consider spending on summer air service this year.

Flights will be open for booking starting Saturday.

Porter said the idea of improving the summer air service into the Yampa Valley can’t be a one-summer project and will take some more time.

“We should go into it with a longer time horizon,” he said. “It can take more than one season to start building up consistency in the marketplace. It’s going to depend on funding, of course, but I would like to see it as moving forward to build up that market.”

The United Express service in and out of Houston was one of several options the Local Marketing District considered for the summer schedule.

Some other options couldn’t come online until 2015, and equipment was a factor in the discussions with some of the other airlines.

The addition of the Houston flights marks the return of a summer air schedule in Hayden that reaches beyond Denver International Airport.

From 2005 to 2007, Steamboat had 70 passenger jet flights to Salt Lake City under Delta Airlines.

And from 2004 to 2006, there was summer jet service to and from Houston under Continental Airlines that ended when the airline opted to send its jets to more lucrative markets.

The former Houston service carried 3,013 arriving passengers in its inaugural summer and improved in later seasons.

Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern said Friday the new United Express flights are a good start to providing more summer flight options.

The most recent summer intercept survey of visitors confirms that though the Front Range remains the largest summer market, Texas remains one of the biggest out-of-state markets.

“If there were places we were going to go with air service from a visitor standpoint, Texas is certainly one of the strongest markets to look at,” Kern said. “If you’ve ever been in Houston in the summertime, the idea of catching a direct flight to Steamboat probably would be a pretty nice change of pace for a while.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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Comments

Lee Cox 10 months ago

Too bad these flights won't be happening in mud season when we all like to head south in April and May.

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David Moore 10 months ago

OK, great, another flight coming IN from somewhere else. How about flights out? They still cost you your first born, half your bank account and part of your left arm. I can fly from Denver to LA or Portland (where family is) for half the cost it takes to get from Hayden to Denver, but the drive bites. Wouldn't you think they would be trying to keep locals from driving elsewhere to fly? I would love to fly out of Hayden, it would only take me 20 minutes to get home instead of 4 hours. I simply cannot afford it and am left wondering why it costs so darned much. I am sure there are reasons, but they won't be good enough, a simple 45 minute flight should not cost $425, period, no excuses.

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cindy constantine 10 months ago

Agreed, David---But if only 5 people are flying from Hayden to your destination, what is an airline to do???? Sorry, but it is simple economics . . . .

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Phoebe Hackman 10 months ago

Flights don't need to take me to my final destination .... just get me to Denver at a fair and reasonable price!

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cindy constantine 10 months ago

Okay . . think of your time, gas and parking cost . . .flying to Denver is then worth how much????

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David Moore 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Four hours my time, free. Tank of gas, $60, parking at $8 per day in the Pikes Peak lot X's 6 days (the average of my trips so far), $48=$108. Driving 20 minutes instead of 4 hours would be well worth it and I would be one local that would never drive to DIA again.

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scott bideau 10 months ago

The study that I lobbied for several months ago (http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2013/sep/20/location-neutral-business-group-studying-air-servi/) is in, at least in a preliminary form, and shows 215 of us each and every day goes down to Denver for a flight. That's three full RJ's! Study summary at:

http://www.co.routt.co.us/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1504?fileID=1643

It's unfortunate that the LMD couldn't have analyzed this data (as I requested) before choosing a summer flight. Maybe it would have given them confidence to add another Denver round trip year-round.

But I'm optimistic that HDN is about to have a drastic change in management philosophy, not just allowing Ski Corp to indirectly drive the decisions, but looking at us locals as a much more important resource.

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John Weibel 10 months ago

So you just need one commercial jet to fly out in the morning and back in the evening to service the locals and have extra seats for others. Forget the puddle jumpers, go after a large jet and work with the airlines to minimize their labor costs to staff the airport.

It would work like train service in Europe to smaller towns with generally one arrival and departure time.

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mark hartless 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Trains in Europe...???

That's what we've come to...?

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Dan Kuechenmeister 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Have taken the trains in Europe and they work pretty good

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David Moore 9 months, 4 weeks ago

$48 is more like it, I would do it for a hundred extra, but not almost $400. I am only talking Hayden to Denver here, I don't expect them to fly direct to my destinations. My point is that in January I flew 3 people to Portland from Denver for five hundred bucks. To fly from Hayden to Denver would have been about three hundred extra, per person. This is why people drive to DIA, I am betting they could keep all of them here if it were reasonable.

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bill schurman 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Remember Rocky Mountain Scareways ? Convenient wasn't it ?

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