EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– It wasn’t so long ago, stepping out of a plane in Eagle County wasn’t always a fun experience. Not anymore.

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“Now that they have jet ways, it’s a really nice to get off the plane. In a blizzard, you’re not stepping out into a blizzard of ice and snow, it’s just really nice,” passenger Lawrence Zacks told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel on Thursday.

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Day two of full winter operations and the new $35 million terminal expansion project at Eagle County Regional Airport is bustling with hundreds of visitors using those new jet ways.

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“It’s beautiful! The first time I walked in, it was like, ‘Wow this is so much nicer!’ All the glass, it’s spacious and modern. The other one was so rinky-dinky,” Lawrence added.

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The Eagle County Regional Airport now has 14 daily nonstop flights for this winter’s service that started Wednesday. The new 120,000-square-foot terminal is large, yet feels warm and inviting.

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“To see all of the great places and destinations people are coming in from, yes, we are excited,” said Eagle County Manager Jeffrey Shroll.

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Eagle County officials say the airport is a big step in their overall economic development plan.

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“This is a pretty big cog in our economic engine for the entire valley, this brings in a lot of skiers and a lot of business travelers and it’s a great alternative with the I-70 traffic,” Shroll added.

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With more direct flights this winter and for next summer, the hope is this airport will help lift the county to new heights.

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