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Mike Terry, Deseret News
Greg Kennedy with Delta Airlines and Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert unveil the first page of a 53-page spread on Utah that will be featured in Delta's in-flight publication Delta SKY magazine at the New Yorker restaurant in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011.

SALT LAKE CITY — Passengers flying Delta Air Lines will get a healthy dose of Utah during their flight-time reading. The global air carrier unveiled a 53-page feature article Thursday that will run in the March issue of its Sky magazine.

The publication is read by nearly 5 million people around the world, according to Greg Kennedy, Delta vice president of airport customer service.

"(Utah) is a very, very important part of our network (and) our largest hub on the West Coast," he said. "It's in our benefit to sell Utah (and) to bring people to Utah on Delta Airlines."

He said the published advertisements for the March issue generated $2.5 million for the airline. The announcement was made at the New Yorker Restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City by Gov. Gary Herbert.

For Utah, the potential economic benefits of having such a high-profile presence in the magazine could be significant.

"This is going to make our phone ring," said Jeff Edwards, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah. "(The article is read by) the right kind of decision-makers, heads of businesses (and) people looking to invest."

He said anything the state can do to get greater exposure on the international business market is going to pay dividends.

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"In Asia and in Europe, companies are looking for sites where they can come and set up operations," Edwards said. Exposure like the article in Sky magazine helps get more conversations with businesses considering expanding or relocating operations, he said.

"Many times it takes picking up the phone and calling, then coming here to visit to dispel all the myths about Utah," he said. Having ready access to an international airport that serves as a hub for a major air carrier is among the top reasons firms choose to move to Utah, he added.

Years ago, Utah was referred to as the "Crossroads of the West," Edwards said, this kind of high-profile coverage could bolster the state's image on a global scale.

"Now we're the bridge to the world," he said.

e-mail: jlee@desnews.com