Craig Moffat Airport saw an increase in freight planes and private jets during the 70-day closure of Hayden’s Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
Luke Tucker, co-owner of Mountain Airspray Co., the airport’s fixed-based operator, said they had one FedEx plane and one UPS plane on the runway every day.
However, none of the freight planes bought fuel. The only planes purchasing jet fuel from Mountain Airspray were the private jets, which would normally land at YVRA.
“It was a nice uptake in landing and fuel sales,” Tucker said, adding that the increase in traffic at the airport is a direct result of YVRA’s closure for a repaving project.
The increased fuel sales benefit Tucker’s business, but they are also good for Craig Moffat Airport.
Mountain Air Spray pays an excise tax and a sales tax to the state when it buys fuel, which is ultimately funneled back into the airport in the form of grants for maintenance and projects.
Jerry Hoberg, airport manager, said there were no issues with the increased traffic over the past 70 days from a county standpoint.
“Everyone was real respectful,” he said. “No issues with them coming in or leaving.”
Many of the private jet pilots stayed in local hotels, providing a slight boost to the lodging industry, as well, Tucker said.
Yampa Valley Regional Airport closed April 14 and reopened Thursday following completion of a $16.6 runway-repaving project required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Heavy rain in May delayed completion of the project.
According to a story from Steamboat Today, “The runway is reopening late after record May rainfall not only delayed paving operations, but caused the general contractor to tear out gravel used to build new 24-foot wide runway shoulders after it became too saturated with moisture to be compacted.”