More money = more flights at Eagle County airport | VailDaily.com

More money = more flights at Eagle County airport

Chris Outcalt
coutcalt@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Since 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made millions of dollars available to help smaller airports. The Eagle County Airport in Gypsum, Colorado has never gotten any of the money, but airport officials are hoping this year is different.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of luck in the past,” said Chris Anderson, the airport’s terminal manager.

Each year, the department usually hands out between $10 million and $20 million in grants. The program is called the Small Community Airport Development grant program.

The county, in conjunction with the Eagle Air Alliance and Vail Resorts, has written the grant application the last few years. This year they’re trying their luck with a consultant who has had success getting resort-town airports money in the past.

“It’s been out there for six or seven years and we’ve tried to get some money for the last five or six years,” said Kent Myers, director of the Eagle Air Alliance. “We’ve gotten nothing.”

The Air Alliance is a nonprofit organization made up of businesses and organizations in the Vail Valley dedicated to improving service at the airport. This year, the three groups are spending $6,500 to hire Boyd Aviation Inc. to write the grant application for them.

If the county gets any money, it will use it to help get and market new flights or bring a new airline to the airport, Anderson said.

Any grant awarded to the airport would have to be matched.

The county commissioners wanted to make sure Boyd wasn’t going to reccomend the airport changes its name, an issue that has created contrvoversy in the past.

“It’s a little deja vu-ish,” Commissioner Sara Fisher said.

The board chipped in money last year to hire a consultant to market the airport who suggested the name of the airport be changed.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.