While it may be an annoying inconvenience to those experiencing it, Scottsbluff’s Western Nebraska Regional Airport is reaping the benefits of already being an official diversion station for Denver International Airport, with an expanded diversion role on the horizon.
Airport Manager Raul Aguallo tells KNEB News what that means is when there is weather in Denver, and there is a lot, they divert aircraft to Scottsbluff.
In addition to the DIA traffic, Aguallo says the airport will soon go under contract as one of two official diversion stations for United Airlines in the region, along with Colorado Springs.
Aguallo told the Airport Authority Board Wednesday morning that the airport receives fees from each of those diverted flights, averaging around $500 per aircraft, although fees have run as high as a couple thousand dollars, depend on the length of their stay and services required.
Aguallo is hoping the number of flights landing on the airport’s crosswind runway will help demonstrate demand for the runway in light of the FAA’s recent recommendation to shorten or remove it.
He says these odd weather patterns lately have been changing the wind directions during stormy weather, and he estimates around 90 percent of the diverted flights have landed on the crosswind runway.
In addition to fees the airport itself gets from the diverted flights, any refueling of aircraft is handled by the airport’s Fixed Base Operator, who receives that money.
Aguallo says the airport has received 26 diverted flights so far this year, with 25 occurring over the past two months, and 16 of those in June.