International flights could land at Eagle County airport by 2015 |

International flights could land at Eagle County airport by 2015

Randy Wyrick
Vail Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GYPSUM, Colorado – International flights into the Eagle County airport could begin landing in time for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, supporters say.

Vail Valley Jet Center CEO Jim Allen says the international terminal will hopefully be ready when the world championships return to Vail/Beaver Creek for the third time.

“We’re hopeful that it could be ready in time for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships,” Allen said.

The Eagle County airport is already Colorado’s third busiest during the ski season.

Industry experts say that around 20 percent of all Aspen’s skier days come through the Eagle County airport.

Locally, about half of all destination skiers arrive through the local airport.

Commercial flights could originate from Mexico and South America. European flights would have to stop once for fuel, possibly in Newfoundland, before landing in Eagle County, Allen said.

There’s room in the current buildings to accommodate international flights, Allen said.

“It could be a huge boost to our local economy,” Allen said.

It’s Lucy Kay’s job to help make it happen. The Vail Valley Jet Center and the Eagle County airport hired the former Vail Resorts executive to head the Eagle International Arrivals Project.

The idea has been bouncing around for years, and could cost between $2.5 million and $3 million.

Kay spent March compiling information that she’ll share with various stakeholders.

In the meantime, the airport is doing just fine, according to passenger statistics. With the ski season winding down, the numbers of passengers is up 0.5 percent, said Chris Anderson, the airport’s assistant manager.

The winter 2009-10 season had 13 nonstop flights from 12 major U.S. cities. This winter saw 11 nonstop flights from 10 major U.S. cities.

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