Contact: Chris Anderson, Terminal Manager at 970-328-2649 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) is reporting an increase in commercial passengers, as well as an increase in aircraft take-offs and landings from December 2010 to December 2011. During the same time period, EGE experienced significantly reduced wait times for general aviation customers and private aircraft and no air traffic delays for commercial flights. The improvements are attributed to enhancements made to air traffic control processes and equipment made over the last few years.
December 2011 passenger enplanements were 22,997, up from 21,638 in 2010 – a 5.9 percent increase. Total take-offs and landings, referred to as operations, were up 15 percent from 2010 and EGE broke the 300 daily operations mark for the first time in its history, reaching 305 daily operations on two separate days.
According to Airport Terminal Manager Chris Anderson, while operational capacity has steadily increased over the years, EGE was lacking a fine-tuned departure procedure to assist in alleviating ramp congestion and heavy delays during the peak holiday season. A multi-year effort by air traffic control tower staff and the FAA has brought about new procedures that allow EGE to control departures. The tower can now better match departure rates to arrival rates without having to wait for individual clearances from Denver Center, the regional air traffic control center.
As a result of the improvements, all private aircraft scheduled to depart EGE were able to do so during the busy holiday. “In the past, it was not uncommon for aircraft types that are subject to sunset curfews, as well as their crew and passengers, to have to remain overnight due to departure delays,” said Anderson.
"While the general aviation ramp was full much of the time, potential for gridlock and congestion was removed as departure rates were able to keep up with arrival rates much more effectively,” said Vail Valley Jet Center President and CEO Paul Gordon.
The Eagle County air traffic control tower is the first of its kind to be given the ability to conduct this type of departure procedure. Anderson and Gordon say credit is due to Milton Souza, EGE’s air traffic control tower manager. “Thanks to Milton’s and the FAA's ongoing efforts, airborne delays are down 57 percent and air traffic-related ground delays are down 90 percent since Oct. 1," Anderson said. Souza was recently recognized with an industry award for “Making an Exceptional Impact.”
For more information on EGE, contact Anderson at 970-328-2649. For information on the Vail Valley Jet Center, contact Gordon at 970-524-7700. For commercial flight information, visit www.flyvail.com