First, an acknowledgment; I am an air charter operator based in Telluride, and my company, MayaAir, a carbon-balanced company through Terrapass, would benefit from longer operating hours during the early winter and late fall months.
Looking at both the very busy Aspen and Eagle/Vail airports, where approaches are far more difficult then Telluride, there have been since 1970 three night operation accidents at Aspen and one at Eagle/Vail involving all classifications of operations (commercial & general). Telluride offers a wide open unobstructed straight in approach, while the Aspen approach requires step down altitudes to clear the mountains and Eagle/Vail requires a series of ninety degree turns to line up for the approach. In the event of a missed approach (required if at the final point on the instrument approach the airport environment is not in sight), all three airports have required easily flown flight paths to take the airplane out of harms way.
If the airport were to extend operations from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. they would be adding 180 days more of operations that could use these extended hours. Currently these hours are allowed under the existing regulations for 180 days. My wife Mary and I live on the East End across from Town Park. We are not happy with the late evening concert venues that have increased from historically one, to three this year. However, we accept this change for the economic benefit of the community. The late-night Phish Concert brought the Telluride Region the highest tax receipts for August that we have seen in years, if ever. Please consider that times are changing, and we all have to make sacrifices now in this difficult economy.
The ability of our resort guests, the lifeblood of our economy, to get here more easily will be well served by later winter airport hours. Making a connection in Denver from an East Coast airport with our current winter curfew hours limits the number of arrivals that can meet the regulated time frame. I also foresee increased revenue for our community by giving West Coast travelers (including the Phoenix market) the ability to complete a work day on a Friday and fly into Telluride Friday evening to enjoy a full weekend at our destination resort.
I encourage the airport board to immediately change their operating hours so we may start taking advantage this winter of the additional revenue it will bring to our region.
– Eliot Brown