EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s a plane so big, it’s normally reserved for international flights, but a Boeing 767 is sitting at on the tarmac at the Eagle County Regional Airport.
Officials say it’s the largest plane ever to land there and airport officials hope it’s a sign of things to come.
Nobody at the airport really knew if the runway could handle such a heavy plane, but airport officials took out their magnifying glass and checked on the specifications and decided to give it a try. Now they feel like the sky is the limit.
“This is it — the first one, so kind of a momentous day for the Eagle County Regional Airport,” said Greg Phillips, Eagle County Regional Airport Director.
It’s not the wingspan or the length of the 767 that officials were worried about. It’s the sheer weight and girth.
“It’s a wide-bodied aircraft, significantly heavier,” Phillips said.
Most of the planes that fly in and out of Eagle County are 757s or smaller private plans. But Monday morning the airport got a call from a private company on the East Coast.
“They wanted to see if we could handle a 767 charter,” Phillips said.
The plane can be about 100,000 pounds heavier than the normal traffic.
“We want to make sure that the pavements are strengthened to be able to handle that; that the parking area for the aircraft is strong enough to handle an aircraft sitting for a number of days,” Phillips said.
It’s so big that there wasn’t a hanger for it to fit in. If it was parked on the pavement where smaller planes sit, it would sink into the ground.
“It was kind of exciting to see another aircraft come in here that could potentially serve this community in larger way.”
The massive plane means that there is a new vision for the central mountain’s main airport moving forward.
“The potential to bring international traffic to this airport, and be able to develop the facilities that would allow international non-stop direct traffic. So that’s the future for this airport, and that’s what we’re looking at.”
The area really wants to target international markets in Mexico and Canada, as well as other major U.S. cities, and then expand from there. The goal for international status is still a few years away.