The forecast will be included in an Airport Layout Plan for Aspen Airport
PITKIN COUNTY, COLO. (July 12, 2023) – In a final reading on the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) air travel demand forecast on Wednesday, July 12, the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) authorized, in a vote of 3-2, the submission of the forecast to the Federal Aviation Administration. This was the second reading of the resolution, which passed 4-1 in a first reading at a regular BOCC meeting on June 28.
The forecast is a standard developmental component of the Airport Layout Plan (ALP). The ALP is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to receive substantial federal grant funding.
“The forecast is a planning tool used to develop the ALP. The ALP is needed to ensure the airport is eligible to receive needed FAA funding for the next twenty years. It’s needed to move forward with future projects at the airport. In working with the FAA, this forecast was as close as we could get to the Common Ground recommendations [which were developed in an extensive community engagement process],” said Dan Bartholomew, director of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport.
The FAA funds go towards capital projects such as maintenance of the airfield. For operational expenditures, the airport uses dollars generated at the airport – not tax dollars.
Prior to the BOCC’s consideration, airport staff and consultants had discussions at length with the FAA in order to refine the forecast. In addition, the ASE Airport Advisory Board (AAB) was regularly updated and spent roughly two months reviewing the forecast during its monthly April and May meetings. Following deliberation, the AAB voted 5-2 to advance the forecast to the BOCC to decide whether to submit it to the FAA.
The air travel demand forecast includes the number of current and estimated future commercial passengers, commercial operations and total operations, including private General Aviation flights, as well as the types of potential planes that could serve ASE in the future
The forecast, which doesn’t require a vote from the county commissioners, will now be considered by the FAA for inclusion in the Airport Layout Plan. The Airport Layout Plan does require a vote from the commissioners and approval by the FAA. The ALP is a living document and pieces of it, like the forecast, can be updated. The airport’s existing ALP was approved by the FAA in 2016. The airport is pursuing an updated ALP in part because of the community’s desire to shift the taxiway instead of the runway – a change incorporated in the updated ALP.