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OGDEN — Two Utahns have plans to launch an airline that will provide flights from Ogden to national parks in Utah and several surrounding states.
David Story has been a pilot since 2005 and launched a small airline in Las Vegas when he met Bret Kobe, who was working as a flight instructor and corporate pilot. Story said he decided to sell his airline and move to Utah in 2013 after his son became sick and began receiving treatment at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Story and Kobe reconnected in Utah and came up with a business plan to launch a small airline in Ogden that offered direct flights to national parks in Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and South Dakota.
“We found that there is a gap here where people wanted to do a Grand Canyon flight for half a day or go to Yellowstone or go to Arches or Bryce Canyon and nobody was offering those type of services,” Story said.
Pending FAA approval, Utah Airways will launch in January 2015 and flights will leave from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport at 3909 Airport Road. Story said their airline will offer roundtrip flights twice a day, offering a tour in the morning and a tour in the afternoon. The Piper Navajo aircraft can carry six passengers on each flight, providing more intimate tour groups.
Utah Airways will provide direct flights to the Grand Canyon South Rim, the Grand Canyon West Rim, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Yellowstone National Park, Bryce National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Story said they contracted private tour operators, like Utah Luxury Tours and Grand Canyon West Hualapai Tourism, to give tours at the various destinations.
Story said the flights will range from 45 minutes to an hour and a half and it will give tourists a better opportunity to visit the national parks.
“Salt Lake City has a lot of tourism from all over the world that come here for different types of reasons,” Story said. “And people come here and they think, ‘Oh, I’m in the western United States. I’m going to go see the Grand Canyon.’ But, they don’t realize how far it really is to drive there. That is kind of the gap we saw that was missing that we wanted to put together. . . We want to be the bridge to these places.”