New airport terminal designed to hit travelers with Provo vibe

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BYU students and Provo area residents will soon have more travel options as the Provo Airport’s new terminal expansion is well underway, with plans to have the first aircraft in on June 1, 2022.

Provo Airport Manager Steve Gleason said he wants the new terminal to make people feel like they have arrived in Provo the second they step off the plane and walk into the building.

The look of the inside of the terminal was inspired by the Center Street shops in downtown Provo, with brickwork lining the walls. Gleason said there was a push to make the terminal look like a ski lodge, but he insisted that Provo wasn’t Park City and deserved its own look.

Shops and vending line the walls of the four gates. The vending and shops are designed to replicate the look of Provo’s Center Street. (Kaelin Hagen)

“I think it’s going to be the best-looking building in the city,” Gleason said. “People are going to be really amazed at how beautiful this building is.”

The first thing a customer will see when they walk out of the new Provo Airport terminal are the jagged mountains that line the east horizon, with the familiar painted Y just slightly visible.

“I’ve been to the Swiss Alps, I’ve been to the alps in Austria, I’ve been to all the things people say are the most beautiful thing in the world; nothing beats that,” Gleason said, gesturing to the mountains.

The terminal will include four gates, with additional space for up to six more gates in the future. Provo City Councilor Bill Fillmore commented on the need for the airport expansion, saying that with the four gates, the Provo Airport will be the second largest airport in the state of Utah.

“It’s been a process that’s very much encouraged by both the federal government and the state government to relieve Salt Lake of some pressure and to have an alternative when there’s emergencies,” Fillmore said.

Both Fillmore and Gleason said the new terminal would benefit students by allowing more travel options, as the increased number of gates will allow for more flights in and out of the city.

Floor to ceiling windows cover the walls next to the entrances of the new Provo Airport terminal. The windows show off the mountains that sit right next to Provo. (Kaelin Hagen)

Avelo, a West Coast-based airline, had announced in July a four-city expansion that included Provo. The airline has since postponed plans to fly out of Provo because of low demand during the pandemic, but “continue to believe Provo would be an excellent market for Avelo and will take another look again in the future,” according to Jim Olson, Avelo’s head of communications.

Provo’s main commercial airline, Allegiant Air, has recently added two new destinations out of Provo — Houston and Palm Springs, California. These locations are in addition to the destinations Allegiant already flies to including Phoenix; Tampa, Florida; Austin, Texas; and Santa Ana, California.

BYU students from Arizona or California sometimes choose to fly from Provo instead of Salt Lake City. Victoria Cook, a BYU student studying special education from Mesa, Arizona, flies frequently from the Provo Airport. Cook said a lot of students will use the Provo Airport as a cheap, easy alternative to the Salt Lake City International Airport.

When talking about the upcoming expansion, Cook said the increase of flights would be helpful.

“I’m thinking of how it’s so expensive to fly back for Thanksgiving right now and so I probably won’t be able to,” Cook said. “I think (the new terminal) would be beneficial, you’d have more flight times and you’d have more space.” 

A plane flies over the construction of the new terminal. The terminal will allow for more flights to come in and out of Provo. (Kaelin Hagen)

Cook said finding a flight out of the Provo Airport can be hard for someone if they were on a specific schedule. More flights would equal more options for people. 

Gleason said the current terminal will most likely be leased out as office space or airline space, or possibly used for charter flights.

The new terminal is currently under budget according to Wayne Parker, the chief administrative officer of Provo. The budget was $49 million, and the city has spent $33 million of that amount.

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