PROVO, Utah (ABC4) — The Provo Airport is looking to expand its services by creating a “Business Air Task Force” with the goal of bringing a major carrier service and international flights to Utah County.
A small group from the coalition of companies recently formed a proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting a $1 million grant to help with development to make their goals happen.
Provo City spokesperson Nicole Martin said in a statement the Provo Airport (PVU) has seen tremendous growth over the last year. In July, the Airport celebrated a one-year anniversary for the opening of its new terminal and two airlines have since announced the Provo Airport as their base of operations: Allegiant and Breeze.
“Even prior to opening the new airport terminal, PVU began soliciting the expertise of industry-leading Air Service Development Consultants that had solid relationships with all airlines and an understanding of Provo’s unique story,” said Provo Airport Director Brian Torgersen.
Torgersen said the airport appreciates both Allegiant and Breeze airlines but said they would be the first to admit the airlines don’t meet the needs of everyone. The two airlines fly mostly to the southwest United States with few flights to the east coast. Major hubs such as Denver and Dallas are missing destinations.
“They have a model that works and are successful at it,” Torgersen explained. “Our focus at the Provo Airport is to expand services from our current partners while attracting a major network carrier who can provide a connection to anywhere in the world.”
Currently, the Provo Airport reportedly services 800,000 passengers yearly and offers 14 non-stop flights. The city said research shows there is even more of an unmet demand in Utah County. Meehan Aviation Group and PVU consultant Sonja Murray said the airport is only serving 6.1% of its estimated passengers, showing a need for growth.
Through that growth, Provo City is hoping to bring tourism dollars to Utah County.
Explore Utah Valley Executive Director Lee Adamson noted that an airport expansion could bring sports tourism to Utah County with BYU’s acceptance to the Big 12. Sundance Mountain Resort also hopes to benefit from more flights at Provo Airport, as mountain visitors choose to fly into Provo as opposed to the further away Salt Lake City.
“Sundance guests travel from all over the world and the Provo Airport should be the primary way those guests arrive,” said Sundance Mountain Resort President and General Manager Chad Linebaugh. “We are in the beginning stages of understanding the benefits but can now say that Sundance is the closest ski resort to any commercial service in the State of Utah. Incredible.”
The Provo Airport said it’s not trying to be the new Salt Lake City International Airport. Instead, it aims to “support complementary air service” and better serve Utah and the state’s visitors.