City airport fuel sales up through summer
Fuel sales at the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport have been up this year, boosted in part by two regular operators at the small plane facility.
The increase in sales also came despite a brief closure in late April and early May when the runway was being repaved.
According to Geoff Guthrie, transportation manager for the city, on-site sales of 100LL avgas topped 13,580 gallons through July 31.
That was up nearly 28.4 percent, or more than 3,000 gallons, compared with the same seven-month period in 2014, Guthrie said.
Total fuel sales for last year topped 20,000 gallons, and were up 22 percent over the previous year.
Activity at the airport has also increased over the past two years with the addition of two regular operators, the Roaring Fork Skydivers and the Alpine Flight Training school, which are based at the Glenwood facility.
Fuel sales and leased hangar and office space are the primary revenue sources for the small, city-run airport.
The facility has operated on a shoestring budget in recent years and had to rely on subsidies from the city’s general fund following the Great Recession.
Between the economy picking up and lower fuel prices, “we have seen more discretionary flying than we had during the last couple of years,” said Gregg Rippy, a pilot and member of the city’s Airport Board.
Airplane fuel, as with gasoline for automobiles, has seen about a 75-cent per gallon decrease this year compared with last year, and stands at about $5.50 per gallon, Rippy said.
The new runway surface is also more attractive to private pilots who might otherwise choose to land elsewhere in the area, he said.
Rippy christened the newly paved runway back in late July, flying through a ribbon suspended over the runway by balloons during a dedication and grand opening ceremony.
The maneuver replicated that of his father, Paul Rippy, 53 years ago when the airport runway was paved for the first time. He was on the ground watching as Gregg did the same thing for the July 25 ceremony.
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Glenwood Springs won’t be experiencing gas shortages anytime soon, according to Grier Bailey, Executive Director for the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.