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Provo Mayor says adding international flights is a top priority

Outdoor signage on the new Provo Airport terminal, Feb. 6, 2023.
Curtis Booker
Outdoor signage on the new Provo Airport terminal, Feb. 6, 2023.

It’s no secret that the Provo Municipal Airport is looking to become an international airport.

During Mayor Michelle Kaufusi’s 2023 State of the City address in February, she discussed initial plans to transform the year-old terminal into an option for travelers looking to fly to resort destinations, like Cabo San Lucas and Cancún.

Kaufusi doubled down on the dream at Saturday’s Stadium of Fire, a part of America’s Freedom Festival in Provo.

“Look at our Provo Airport! It has become so successful that we're already at capacity, with more airlines clamoring to make Provo their destination. And we won't disappoint them! The Provo Airport of the future is set to become the Provo International Airport!” Kaufusi said, according to prepared remarks sent to KUER.

Provo airport opened its new terminal in July of 2022 with service on smaller, regional carriers Breeze and Allegiant.

Before the expansion, Provo Communications and Marketing Director Nicole Martin said the airport averaged only four daily arrivals and departures.

“By comparison, today we have 12 departures and arrivals per day, with an estimate that in the fall we could have as many as 17. So you can see the dramatic roles within only one year's time,” said Martin.

Talks of international travel could mean more expansion at the airport, and the city has been working to secure funding of roughly $62 million to get plans off and running.

According to the Daily Herald, Utah County has already agreed to pony up $10 million to the project.

“When we built the original terminal, we planned for expansion,” said Martin. “We now just are in the concept designs getting funding necessary for that to take place because, of course, the international adds some challenges that we are ready to tackle.”

The convenience of a smaller airport that caters to families is one of the reasons Ella Armstrong likes to fly out of the city’s airport.

“I personally like flying there because it's cheap, affordable and it's a lot friendlier in my opinion. And I like that it's smaller, especially having a one-year-old.”

Armstrong said having international travel options would be nice, but more commercial flight options would be great too, especially since her husband is in the military.

“I would also like to see things like going to the East Coast. My husband's on the East Coast right now, so it'd be easier to get to through a smaller airport,” Armstrong said.

Both Breeze and Allegiant offer a variety of destinations, but a decent chunk of them are on the West Coast.

Martin said more details regarding the expansion, new international destinations and a timeline are expected around the second week of July.

Curtis Booker is KUER’s growth, wealth and poverty reporter in Central Utah.
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