Eagle County Regional Airport is an important community asset
An airport can be many things to many people. One of the first things people will notice about any airport is that it is a place that provides fast, intercity and interstate transportation. Whatever the case, having that capability right here in Eagle County for fast, on-demand transportation opens the front door to the community for travel opportunities and for commerce.
The airport is much more than a transportation hub. Eagle County Regional Airport is currently served by three major airlines: American, Delta, and United with non-stop winter service to 13 major cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (JFK & LGA), Newark, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Year-round service includes non-stop flights to Denver and Dallas, and new summer service this year is available from Chicago and Atlanta – providing connections across the country through major hub cities.
The fact is, more than one third of our visitors arrive via Eagle County Regional Airport and based on guest intercept studies and research, these guests are more likely to be repeat visitors with the potential to become second homeowners, thus benefiting the Eagle County economy. I-70 traffic to and from Denver is increasingly a guest service issue and convenience is of utmost importance to our visitors and second homeowners. Keep in mind that 47% of jobs in Eagle County are directly related to tourism and hospitality.
Supporting our airport and air service development is an intentional effort, led by the EGE Air Alliance. New service such as Atlanta and Chicago, and growth of our winter markets, does not happen by accident. Formed in 2002, the EGE Air Alliance is a non-profit, public-private partnership that provides the funding to support a vibrant local flight service program that ensures that the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) remains a vital part of the Eagle County economy.
What exactly does the Alliance do? The EGE Air Alliance works with the airport and airlines to maintain existing flights and secure new flights to and from the Eagle County Regional Airport. Air service is not guaranteed by any airline, and the EGE Air Alliance is the organization that works directly with them to maintain and grow new flights and air routes into Eagle County.
This is important as Eagle County Regional is one of 14 commercial service airports contributing to the state’s aviation economic impacts. The airport has 581 direct jobs and economic impacts that reach far beyond the airport itself, supporting both our visitor economy as well as our community members. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, an airport has a multiplier effect on local jobs and income, whereby every $1 spent in the airport leads to an additional $2.53 to your local economy.
The Eagle County Regional Airport continues to improve; if you haven’t had the pleasure to fly from EGE recently, you’ll be pleased to experience the terminal expansion project which was completed in 2019. This project expanded the gate area and added amenities to the airport. EGE hosted over 380,000 commercial passengers in 2019 and is sure to grow in the future as service is expanded to new markets and as more locals experience the convenience and benefit of using EGE for both business and personal travel.
Eagle County Regional Airport is not only a key economic driver, but also a strong community partner. The airport serves as an essential gateway for the region and is one of the top economic engines for our community.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com