OGDEN — It's a small start with big promise for Ogden-area tourism as the city hammers out a deal to bring commercial jet service back to the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
As F-16s and firefighting air tankers flew overhead Wednesday morning, airport manager Royal Eccles made an announcement with big implications. Low-cost carrier Allegiant will start flying twice a week between Ogden and Phoenix-Mesa beginning Sept. 20, he said.
"The airport is looking to become the value leader for all types of travelers and the gateway to our year-round, high-adventure recreation areas," Eccles said.
Allegiant will introduce the new service with fares as low as $69.99 one way between the two cities. It will also offer travelers hotel and air packages. Information on flight schedules and reservations can be found at allegiant.com.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the deal will have an impact on area tourism. “We really are an underserved destination market for skiing and for fishing and for reaction, all kinds of stuff,” he said.
Caldwell said the new flights means investing in upgrades like a new TSA screening facility. “You’ll be able to park here,” he said. “It’s a 200-yard walk to get to the TSA terminal and onto the plane, and it’s going to be a real quick in and out.”
Ogden-Weber Convention and Visitors Bureau President Sara Toliver said other improvements yet to come include car rental or shuttle services. “All those needs have been recognized, and so the plans are being rolled out and put into place as we speak,” she said.
Having the new TSA screen facility will also give the airport the ability to deplane people when there’s bad weather and flights are diverted from Salt Lake to Ogden.
Allegiant was founded in 1997 in Fresno, Calif. It provides nonstop, scheduled service for more than 75 U.S. cities.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc