A new terminal is under construction at the Provo Municipal Airport to make room for increased traffic following an agreement with a national airline.
Frontier Airlines will begin offering services at the Provo airport this month. Daily flights will be available to and from Denver, where connections can be made to many destinations throughout the United States.
The first flight in will depart Tuesday with a special flight for local leaders, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson and Provo Mayor John Curtis. Members of the media and Cosmo the Cougar will be on the flight as well.
In preparation, the facilities must be improved to handle commercial flights. The new terminal provides waiting room for 100 people. It also provides the necessary security and screening of passengers and their baggage.
The new facilities must be completed in time for the first flights. Provo public information officer Helen Anderson said by now the building is completely enclosed.
“It is not complete yet, but they are going very fast,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of like ‘Extreme Makeover’ airport edition. They are working at record speed.”
The workers aren’t just working fast to meet a deadline but are possibly ahead of plans.
“The building is progressing very well,” said Scott Peppler, Provo’s public service director. “We are actually maybe even a little ahead of schedule. It’s looking like we shouldn’t have any problem making that.”
According to Peppler, everything is coming together from the city, airport and the airlines nicely.
“All the major equipment seems to be en route or is already here,” Peppler said. “Everybody from TSA is saying everything is on line. Frontier is saying everything is good. Quite frankly, right now we are very positive about the way things are going.”
Commercial flights are anticipated to provide a boost to the Utah Valley economy.
“I feel that over the course of several years it will be of tremendous significance to the economy,” Peppler said.
Anderson said the popularity of these flights could attract more flights. That, in turn, would contribute to the economy through increased fuel sales and other fees.
“We are hoping that these flights are well filled and used frequently enough that it proves there is demand for even more, and if there is demand for even more then other airlines will come in and meet that demand,” she said.
Along with contributing to the local economy, the availability of flights from Provo can directly benefit the local student community. Grace Finlinson, a senior from St. Louis, said she understands how she benefits from the opportunity.
“I wouldn’t have to find a ride that would have to take two hours,” Finlinson said.
Alexander Brown, an accounting student from Seattle, also said he sees the advantages of having commercial flights to Provo.
“There is less wait time and less hassle,” Brown said. “It’s a benefit to those students who don’t have the best transportation options.”
The ability to commute to other states has many advantages.
“Utah County is a pretty sizable chunk of what flies out of Salt Lake,” Peppler said. “It gives us all those advantages to leave from here.”