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Mayors of Utah Valley: New terminal sparks expanded flight offerings

New terminal sparks expanded flight offerings

By Michelle Kaufusi - Special to the Daily Herald | Jun 4, 2022

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

Exterior of the new Provo Airport terminal is shown on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

The last month or two has been exhilarating, and most of it has centered around our airport expansion.  Some call it a “generational project,” one that will impact generations. I like that. I regularly challenge my staff to think 30 or 40 years out. And I believe this is one of those projects that will be appreciated for decades to come.  Before I say anything more, let me thank our employee team, particularly those at the airport but also all those supporting it. They have worked their hearts out to make this happen, and I am so grateful to them. 

Seizing the Day

At the ribbon cutting event, about a dozen “Newsies” (from Arts Acting Up!) danced and sang about seizing the day. It felt like a fitting touch. When I was sworn in as mayor, I was told that an airport terminal was on the 20-year horizon. That was fine, but my question was why not now? No one had a good answer (other than that we didn’t have the money). I’m glad we didn’t wait. The moment was now, and we seized it. 

Partnership

The story of the Provo terminal is a story of partnership. When we first pitched the idea to a state senator, he said, look: the hair on my arms is standing up! And that’s about what happened everywhere we went. People almost instantly caught the vision and wanted to help. Before we knew it, the state legislature had provided $ 9 million, the county $4.3 million, the FAA $23 million, and the Mountainland Association of Governments $14 million. I will forever be indebted to the good people in these organizations that linked arms with us to pull this off.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

The main foyer is shown from the second floor of the new Provo Airport terminal on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

Features of the New Terminal

To me, the new terminal feels like a work of art. The design is elegant and highly functional. The roofline mirrors the angle of Rock Canyon’s peaks. The interior is a nod to Provo’s downtown, complete with real brick “storefronts.” I’m proud of the way we put security screening out of view. At some airports, your first sight is of security screenings. Here, when it’s time for security, you enter a large room in the center of the building that is hidden from the other areas of the terminal. And we’re adding some beautiful mural art on some of the walls in the security area, to showcase our picturesque valley. 

Additional features include a large family lounge where kids can play (or cry) out of the main passenger waiting area and a business center where you can quietly get some work done. We have a second-story public viewing area, where anyone — even without a ticket — can watch the runway and travelers. And we thoughtfully designed a welcome station to greet friends (or missionaries!), as they return home. That design feature was a passion project for me. I said if anyone can get this right, it’s Provo! 

For dining, you’ll be able to grab your favorite dish from a Provo original, Guru’s.

Expanded Flight Offerings

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

A brick facade separates the restrooms, business lounge, family lounge and other areas in the new Provo Airport terminal on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

In the week or two surrounding the opening, Allegiant announced it was making Provo a base of operations for the first time. This means they will be basing aircraft (five of them), pilots, and flight attendants here. This will add to the reliability of flights to and from Provo. And they announced several new destinations, including Orlando and Portland. In addition, Breeze Airlines announced that it will begin service to and from Provo. Breeze too will be basing aircraft here. Among Breeze’s offerings are $99 flights to New York (about 35 miles north of New York City) and $39 daily flights to San Francisco. Plus, both airlines announced they would begin flights to Las Vegas. All told, 17 destinations have been announced or are already being served from the Provo airport. Visit the airlines’ websites for details (and to book a ticket!).

Advantages of the Expansion

The enhanced Provo Airport strengthens Provo and the entire valley. It will enhance quality of life for our residents by providing additional affordable travel options. Relatives and friends can come visit more often, and you and I can get away more often! 

It will also strengthen our local economy. Allegiant’s newly announced expansion in Provo represents a $95 million investment by the airlines, bringing Provo 150 well-paying jobs. And with Breeze also establishing a base here, the job count is going only going to increase. Plus, just think what the expanded airport will do for enticing businesses to stay here or relocate here! All told, analysts say that for each daily flight into the Provo Airport, the annual local economic impact will be about $15 million. 

Provo’s Pillars include Welcoming, Economically Vibrant and Forward-looking. This project hits the sweet spot by advancing each of those pillars in a meaningful way.

Courtesy Provo City

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi says "Welcome Home" to travelers inside the new Provo Airport Terminal.

A Call to Action

At the ribbon cutting, Chad Linebaugh from Sundance Resort ended his remarks with a call to action: “I invite each one of us to use this facility. Let’s all become the biggest fans of the Provo Airport.” After mentioning that he had already downloaded the apps for Breeze and Allegiant, he continued, to energetic applause: “I call upon all business leaders and all residents who live here: let’s use this airport to its full potential!” 

I join in his call to action. Help spread the word about the Provo Airport! By choosing it, you’ll get a convenient and efficient passenger experience in a truly fine setting. But you’ll also be strengthening the local economy and becoming an integral part of the exciting Provo Airport story. 

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