By Jamie Leary

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — The Eagle County Regional Airport is seeing record travel numbers this summer — and officials expect it to keep that same pace through the upcoming ski season.

(credit: CBS)

“Our early indicators are this winter, both air service and visitation is going to be very strong,” said Chris Romer, President and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

Romer knows the trends well — he’s part of Eagle County’s non-profit, the EGE Air Alliance, a public/private partnership that raises funds to recruit airlines to provide service to the airport and ensure its vitality.

“The airport has never been better, we have never had a busier summer,” he said. “This summer general aviation traffic is up, commercial traffic is up, we have new service from Chicago to Atlanta increased service from Denver and Dallas.”

It’s creating almost too much business to handle for neighboring towns. Some restaurants have had to shut down several days a week due to staffing. Other businesses are turning away customers.

“We’re sold out, three to four weeks in advance on guided trips, and probably turning six to 15 trips down a day,” said JP Modderno, Manager at Vail Valley Anglers.

Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards is in the middle of all the action.

“Edwards is five minutes from Beaver Creek and 20 minutes from Vail,” he said.

While it’s been hard to staff the retail side of things, his guides are thriving, and most importantly, he says they’re happy.

On Monday, it was buzzing at the Eagle County Airport. While certain weekdays are notoriously slower, it seems every day is a busy day here.

“We typically see two to four flights daily during the spring and summer months, but this year we’ve had up to eight flights a day including the following non-stops: three daily to Denver on United, three daily to Dallas on American, one daily to Chicago on American, and five times a week to Atlanta on Delta,” said David Reid, Director of Aviation for the Eagle County Regional Airport.

Overall traffic, including military, private and commercial activity is up 48% year-to-date. In the month of June alone, the airport saw 13,100 passengers. That’s more than April, May and June combined in 2019.

Reid confirmed the airport is expecting a very busy winter and expects things will begin to pick up mid-December with 13 non-stop destinations.

Jamie Leary