It’s the season when, very soon, the sometimes placid little airport will bustle with hundreds of passengers jammed into a too-small terminal taking dozens of flights per day to and from Denver, Newark, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City.
Lloyd Arnold, the airport’s new director of aviation, was tied up with the JetAway hearing all week (see related story, page TKTK), but aviation program manager Jeannette Anderies said the airport is ready for a busy winter season.
The terminal will be even better next year if plans are followed through for its expansion, long a primary concern of the county-owned airport’s advisory board.
At a meeting of the board a couple of months ago, Arnold reported that terminal expansion plans included adding 80 more customer seats, another baggage belt, two more airline counters, a WIFI area, and curbside check-in at the south end of the building.
At last month’s board meeting, member Dave Ubell said funding for the expansion is in place. At the same meeting, however, Boardmember Scott Stewart said there was “a significant drop” in booking pace over last year, a 45 percent slowdown over 2007.
Just how busy this year’s ski season will be remains to be seen, but the expansion of the terminal, built in 1988, remains a top priority on the advisory board’s agenda.
Winter is also the busy season for the airport’s designated fixed-base operator, Black Canyon Jet Center, which opened a new 10,000-square-foot building complete with a pilot’s lounge and putting green out back earlier this year to serve private aviation, including many Telluride-bound high-rollers in private jets.
At the same advisory board meeting, Ken Watson of Black Canyon said his company is expecting a good ski season and is hiring more customer service representatives and linemen.
Montrose Airport Factoids
Elevation: 5,759 feet
Terminal facilities: Café, gift shop, vending machines, ATM, news racks, rental car agencies, ticket counters, telephones, restrooms
Runways: Two runways, one at 10,000 feet long and 150 feet wide, and one at 7,500 feet long and 100 feet wide.
Tower: The airport has no control tower and relies on radio communications. A rotating beacon helps pilots find the airport at night and in bad weather.
Airlines: United Express, SkyWest, Continental, American, Delta