Vail Valley: New flight-control plans mulled |

Vail Valley: New flight-control plans mulled

VAIL, Colorado ” Officials are trying to figure out if there’s a better way to direct airplanes across the mountains of Colorado’s Vail Valley.

“We’re just basically having a conversation with the (Federal Aviation Administration) about what’s the best way to handle traffic between the airspace in Aspen and the airspace in Eagle,” said Travis Vallin, aeronautics director of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The terminal radar approach control, or TRACON, facility for the Eagle County Regional Airport is now at the Denver Center in Longmont, while Aspen airport’s terminal control center is in Aspen.

The terminal control centers direct aircraft arriving and departing from the airport. Once airplanes get below 10,000 feet, they are directed by the air-traffic controllers at the Eagle County airport tower, said Chris Anderson, Eagle County Regional Airport terminal manager.

One possibility is managing the two airspaces as one, Vallin said.

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Vallin appeared before the Eagle County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, and got the thumbs-up from the board to continue to explore possibilities.

Improved efficiencies under a new air-traffic-control plan could mean that the airport could handle more flights, Anderson said.

Similar conversations about changing the way the airspaces are managed have been ongoing for the last 10 to 15 years, Vallin said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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