City announces new flight destination for St. George Regional Airport

A Skywest flight with returning Utah National Guard members taxis under a water cannon salute at the St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Jan. 31, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A new direct flight destination planned for St. George Regional Airport will further increase the travel opportunities available to Southern Utah residents and tourists.

St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

During a public meeting Thursday evening, St. George city officials announced Dallas-Fort Worth as the latest addition to the airport’s growing list of flight routes.

Flights to and from the new destination are scheduled to begin Sept. 26, the same day as the grand reopening of the airport following a massive runway repair project.

“This is a huge market that we’re able to tap into, and we’re super excited about this,” City Manager Adam Lenhard said at the meeting. “It will be another major market we’re tied directly to.”

The addition of Dallas-Fort Worth makes a total of six destinations flying out of St. George, joining existing flights to and from Phoenix, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

The new flight will be serviced by American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth. St. George Regional Airport is served by St. George-based SkyWest Airlines on behalf of American Airlines and three other carriers.

SkyWest Airlines will be offering flights to Dallas-Fort Worth starting September 2019. The new route is made possible through a partnership with American Airlines, photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of SkyWest Airlines, St. George News

SkyWest Director of Corporate Communications Marissa Snow said the new destination will provide access to over 900 daily departures to 220 destinations.

“You have access to the world,” Snow said. “You’ve got the Bahamas, you’ve got Panama, you’ve got Amsterdam, you’ve got Paris – all from one connection from St. George, which is amazing.”

“It’s pretty exciting for St. George,” she said. “It’s kind of groundbreaking, I would say.”

During the meeting, the City Council approved a transportation services agreement between the city of St. George, Washington County and SkyWest Airlines. Under the terms of the agreement, the city and county will budget $450,000 in a contingency fund to help cover possible losses for the flight’s first year and a half of operation.

“They don’t just get the money,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said of the agreement. “It’s a backstop if they have losses. We found this to work very well in starting the Phoenix flight as well as the LA flight.”

Pike said the new flight is a reflection of the success and growth the airport has experienced.

Since the airport opened in 2011, the number of booked flights has more than doubled from 136,816 to 277,520 in 2018.

The announcement comes approximately one month before the airport is due to be closed for four months this summer for the repair project.

A plane at the gate of St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

The runway has sustained extensive water damage in the years since it was completed in 2011.

The $26 million project will require approximately 7,000 feet of runway to be removed and replaced. About 5,400 feet in the center of the runway will also be excavated 17 feet down to remove blue clay.

Read more: City approves $23 million bid to replace runway ahead of airport closure

According to the city, which owns and operates the airport, the runway was originally built to FAA design specifications but has nonetheless required constant patching due to the water damage.

While the airport is closed to all flights from May 29-Sept. 26 for runway repairs, the city also plans to perform other improvements, such as upgrades to facilities inside the terminal.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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