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Provo mayor heralds inaugural flight from new airport

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PROVO -- Daily flights from Provo to Denver from on Frontier airlines are now underway.

Utah County leaders say this could be a big boost to the area. They also say they're eyeing flights to other cities as well.

The first daily flight from Provo to Denver was filled with dignitaries like Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz to everyday travelers.

"People want to get to Utah Valley, and it's because of our culture and our business expansion," Herbert said.

Provo Mayor John Curtis says what this flight really represents is a big boost to the local economy. A new convention center is under construction in Provo, and the drive from the airport to the convention center is less than 10 minutes. Add to that the conveniences of the new airport -- you can park right next to the terminal and check-lines are very short -- and Curtis expects that will lure in business travelers.

A Frontier airlines spokesman says there are a lot of pluses to doing business in Utah Valley. There are multiple universities and colleges and the LDS Missionary Training Center with a lot of people constantly going in and out, and the airline hopes to create ties with these groups.

Frontier Vice President of Customer Service Cliff Van Leuven said, "I was looking at the pictures of the terminal just a few short months ago and thinking, ‘There is no way in the world we are going to be ready for an operation today. You just can't do it that quickly,' but you have. That means the world to us, and it's going to mean the world to the people from Utah Valley who choose Frontier. And we hope you choose us."

Van Leuven said if the flights from Provo fill up, Frontier will add bigger planes and more flights. But it is a risk anytime they start flying to a new city; it all depends on the ticket sales.

Curtis has much bigger plans and says the city is currently negotiating with other airlines with the hope of having flights from Provo to six or 12 different regional cities in the future.

Beyond the short security lines and easy parking at the Provo airport, Chaffetz had one other glowing review: He was excited there are no body scanners at the Provo airport -- at least for now.

Government leaders in Denver are also excited about the flight.

"I think anytime there is a closer connection between Colorado and Utah, I think it's real progress," said Colorado Mayor John Hickenlooper said.

Written by Randall Jeppesen with contributions from Alex Cabrero.


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