Yellowstone Regional Airport
Gateway to America’s first National Park
Business View Magazine interviews Bob Hooper, Airport Director at the Yellowstone Regional Airport, as part of our series on regional American airports.
Yellowstone Regional Airport is a commercial and general aviation airport located two miles southeast of the central business district of Cody, a city in Park County, Wyoming, and about 53 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The Airport is owned by the City of Cody and governed by the Yellowstone Regional Airport Joint Powers Board, whose members are appointed by the City of Cody and Park County, and whose function is to plan for the future, and provide the means to operate and safely maintain an aviation facility adequate to the needs of the flying public.
The Airport’s history dates back to 1928, when the county gave 80 acres of land to the Cody Club, who turned around and gave the land and the responsibility of operating an airport to the City of Cody. The Airport’s first runway was built in 1937; a new runway was completed in the spring of 1953 and Frontier Airlines began flying commercial flights out of Cody that June. Since the first Airport Master Plan was completed in 1985, the Airport has grown steadily over the ensuing decades.
Today, Yellowstone Regional Airport covers an area of 694 acres and has one asphalt runway measuring 8,268 by 100 feet. It is the third busiest airport in the state, offering year-round commercial passenger service to Denver and seasonal service to Chicago via United Express, and seasonal service to Salt Lake City via Delta Connection provided by Skywest Airlines. In addition, FedEx Express and UPS Airlines both offer frequent air cargo services. The Airport is also home to 80 GA aircraft and hosts a full array of general aviation services including aircraft maintenance, flight instruction, charter and scenic sightseeing trips, fly-ins, and car rentals.
Airport Director, Bob Hooper, reports that over the last several months, general aviation traffic has grown by approximately 33 percent versus the same months, last year, attributable, he believes, to the growing business activity in the Cody area. As a gateway community to Yellowstone, as well as a number of other outdoor recreation destinations, Cody’s economy has historically been dominated by tourist activity, which is typically seasonal in nature. However, in recent years, new and growing industries, such as medical, biotechnology, and online-based businesses have chosen to locate in the community, diversifying the local economy and providing consistent employment opportunities. While the city is not easily accessible from an interstate, the Airport does offer daily regional air service, and a thriving downtown core and quality of life amenities help make Cody extremely hospitable to new businesses.
Recent projects at Yellowstone Regional Airport include an expansion of its commercial ramp, providing space for two additional aircraft to park there. “Next summer, our biggest project is to double the size of our parking facility at our commercial terminal building,” says Hooper. “We’ll be adding 200 parking spots and we’re using two years of our annual AIP (Airport Improvement Program) entitlement money to do that.” Future projects include an expansion of the eight-year-old commercial passenger terminal, in four or five years; a new car rental facility; and a planned expansion of the general aviation ramp as demand warrants.
Hooper touts Yellowstone Regional’s advantages: “We have a very good FBO operator, here – Choice Aviation; we offer convenient flight schedules; an easy check-in process; short security screening lines; and free parking. We have set all time records for passenger enplanement numbers for the last five months, so we’re on track to have the best year ever,” he says in conclusion. “And we see 2020 to be even better.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: Yellowstone Regional Airport
WHAT: A commercial and general aviation airport
WHERE: Cody, Wyoming
Park County Travel Council | CodyYellowstone – CodyYellowstone.org
Here, the west isn’t just a direction. It’s our heritage and our soul. Its something you can feel as soon as you get to Cody, Wyoming, a town that was founded by the world-renowned showman, Buffalo Bill Cody.
Cody’s been the home base for epic adventures for over a century. Where explorers, trailblazers, outlaws and natives once walked our streets after long days of adventure, you’ll now see mountain bikers, kayakers, photographers, historians and hikers strolling through. That’s because not only is the area abundant with beautiful mountains and rivers, but its also nestled next to one of the most scenic places on Earth, Yellowstone National Park.
Many visitors spend time in Cody before or after a trip to the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, just 52 miles west of town. Some come to spend a week playing at one of the region’s dozens of guest and dude ranches. And others come to explore the region’s outdoor adventures including fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, river float trips, kayaking, wildlife watching and the Sleeping Giant Zipline.
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, Cody is a great place to rest your cowboy hat. Its home to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which is the most comprehensive western museum around. With five museums, including the Draper Natural History Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum and Cody Firearms Museum, you’ll have plenty to explore. And if you’re a history buff, you can also take a tour of Old Trail Town where buildings were brought from the immediate area, including one building that was the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang’s hideout.
Looking for a show that will get your palms sweaty? Saddle up to Cody’s nightly rodeo. Officially starting in 1938, the Cody Nite Rodeo is the longest running nightly rodeo in the country and has earned Cody the title of “Rodeo Capital of the World.” In fact, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) has named the Cody Nite Rodeo the “Best Outdoor Rodeo of the Year” multiple times.
Nature-lovers and road-trippers have plenty of options as well. The region is a prime wildlife habitat, with many animals viewed from the road throughout the spring, summer and fall. And Cody is a great home base for driving five scenic loop tours.
With the perfect blend of adventure and western history, there’s no doubt that Cody is home to the Great American Adventure.
Start planning your Great American Adventure at CodyYellowstone.org or call 1-800-393-CODY.