New summer flight coming this year to regional airport | VailDaily.com

New summer flight coming this year to regional airport

EAGLE COUNTY — There are some significant changes coming to the Eagle County Regional Airport. The first starts next week, but is far from the most important.

The important change is the recent announcement that American Airlines this year will offer summer service on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles. That Saturday-only flight will run June 4 through Aug. 20.

In a release, Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council Chairwoman Beth Slifer said, "The new nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Vail in the summertime provide travelers from Southern California with easy access to all of the activities and mountain adventures we have to offer."

The flight from Los Angeles joins a long-running American flight from Dallas to Eagle County, and a relatively recent flight from Houston on United Airlines, as well as daily service from Denver on United Express.

Denver Flight Changing

That flight to and from Denver is changing, starting in part next week.

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Republic Airlines, which runs the United Express flights, recently announced it is shutting down its Denver operations. In its place, Sky West Airlines will operate the daily flights from United. That's going to bring a change in equipment, from the current Bombardier-produced turboprop aircraft to Canadair-built regional jets.

Eagle County Aviation Director Greg Phillips said both planes carry roughly the same number of passengers. The jets will make the quick trip from Denver about five minutes faster.

And, Phillips said, some flyers believe turboprops are louder and don't ride as well.

While the connecting flight from Denver is a quick one, Phillips said the flights are popular.

"In the winter (the flights) will be full," Phillips said. "The rest of the time they run about 65 percent full."

The first Sky West jet flies into Eagle County on Thursday, and the service to Denver will be all jets within a few months, Phillips said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.