The Salt Lake International Airport thinks non-stop service to Philadelphia could be profitable to airlines and worthwhile to travelers, and it has hired a consultant to prove it.

An analysis to be completed in about six weeks will look at the number of passengers flying to Philadelphia either directly from or by way of Salt Lake International, and the number of passengers flying to Salt Lake via Philadelphia. From those numbers the airport will determine if a profitable market exists for the service.Airport director Louis E. Miller believes it does.

"We get information on the top 50 origination and destination markets, and out of the top 25, Philadelphia is the only one that doesn't have non-stop service" to and from Salt Lake City, he said.

Airlines also get that information, Miller said, but airports make these type of pitches to air carriers to "nudge them along" into providing the service.

The last time Salt Lake International convinced an airline to provide non-stop service to a specific city was in 1986. A study showed, and the former Western Airlines agreed, that non-stop flights to Boston would be worth the trouble.

Other cities Salt Lake International may look at as potential non-stop destinations, Miller said, include Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

He said the idea to look at Philadelphia came during informal discussions during an industry convention with the Philadelphia airport director, who supports the idea and will participate in the study.

The airport stands to make some extra revenue from non-stop service to Philadelphia by leasing extra terminal space for the additional flights and more concession revenue from additional passengers.

But Miller added that the monetary gains are negligible. Upgrading the service Salt Lake International provides is the primary purpose behind hunting for new cities to fly to.

"Better service has the potential of attracting more service in the future," Miller said. "It helps in economic development and in attracting conventions."