Passenger count strong at Eagle County airport |

Passenger count strong at Eagle County airport

Cliff Thompson

With two of the three summer months done, the number of summer air travelers at the Eagle County airport is showing some healthy gains over last year.In June 2004, 2,600 more passengers used the facility and 5,700 in July. Much of the increase is coming from the new United Airlines 757 flight to Denver, which carried 2,100 passengers in June and 3,182 in July.”The economy is improving,” said Jack Ingstad, county administrator. “The bottom line is two thirds of the summer is done and numbers (of passengers) are significant.”Last summer the county paid $20,000 to the airlines in flight guarantees. This year it appears there will be enough summer passengers that the county won’t be paying flight guarantees, Ingstad said.On the United flight, a total of 49 seats a day need to be filled, he said. Bookings through the early part of August exceed 150 people on most days, Ingstad said.The number of passengers on the American Airlines flight to and from Dallas is essentially even with last year at 4,135. American, however has announced it will be curtailing its last week of its summer flights through early September. The air carrier and county do not have a contract. The passenger count through July of this year is 154,000, up 9.6 percent over last year, county records show. Last year through July the number of passengers was 140,500. That increase in passengers corresponds with a 12 percent increase in destination visitors to Eagle County ski resorts last winter.Passenger traffic at the county airport flattened between now and the record year of 1998 when 188,000 passengers used the facility. If the current trend holds the county facility could be poised to equal 1998’s numbers.Cliff Thompson can be contacted via e-mail at or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.vail colorado

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