Partnership CEO: Air service helps drive the economy in Eagle County (column) | VailDaily.com

Partnership CEO: Air service helps drive the economy in Eagle County (column)

Chris Romer
Vail Valley Partnership

The EGE Air Alliance, made up of both public and private partners, is proud to provide funding to support a vibrant local flight service program that ensures the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) remains a vital part of the Eagle County economy.

Our public-private partnership with Eagle County, local municipalities, Eagle County airport, Vail Resorts and numerous local businesses has helped the Alliance with our critical strategic goal of adding new incremental flight service from key destination markets to the Eagle County Regional Airport.

The EGE Air Alliance and Eagle County Regional Airport have recently announced an increase in air seat capacity for the 2017-18 winter season. Additional seats have been added to flights from Chicago and Phoenix. New service from Salt Lake City and San Francisco has also been added.

The EGE Air Alliance continues to support the United Airlines summer Houston flight, extended Dallas service through the fall and new winter service from Washington, D.C., and Phoenix. New flight service for 2017-18 includes service from Salt Lake City (Delta) and San Francisco (United) in addition to continued service from Washington, D.C., and Phoenix, as well as expanded Chicago service and new spring service from Dallas (ensuring year-round service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport).

• Chicago: Both American Airlines and United Airlines will increase their seat capacity from Chicago. American Airlines will add a second daily flight for the holiday period, Dec. 15 through Jan. 7. This will be in addition to a daily flight already in place with both American Airlines and United Airlines at this time period, for a total of three daily flights from Chicago.

American Airlines' second Chicago operation will operate in-bound flights, Friday and Saturday, and out-bound flights Saturday and Sunday for the remainder of the season, Jan. 12 through April 1. United Airlines' Chicago service will continue Jan. 13 through April 1 on Saturdays and Sundays.

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"This increase in service at peak demand time periods and days of the week represents a continued strength in the local Chicago market, as well as a key hub to make connections from the Midwest and Northeast," said Mike Brumbaugh, chairman of the EGE Air Alliance.

• Phoenix: American Airlines' Phoenix service will expand for the 2017-18 winter season, as well, with daily flights Dec. 15 through Jan. 7; flights Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 11 through Feb. 12; and daily flights Feb. 15 through April 2.

• Salt Lake City: Salt Lake City flights will return next season for the first time since the 1994-95 winter season. Delta will offer a daily flight with 69 seats for the holiday period, Dec. 21 through Jan. 7. If performance is strong, then this flight schedule could expand in the future.

• San Francisco: The route will operate round-trip Saturdays and Sundays between Dec. 23 and Jan. 7 and again between Feb. 15 and March 25; and Saturdays only from Jan. 8 through Feb 14.

The new and increased service will result in estimated economic impacts of more than $25 million into Eagle County's economy (based on RRC Associates intercept study research). In addition to the new flights and increased service from existing markets, service continues from Toronto, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York/JFK, Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Newark and Washington Dulles.

Complete flight information, schedules and route maps can be found at flyvail.com. With fall flights to Dallas starting at $329, be sure to shop local before buying flights.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at http://www.vailvalleypartnership.com.