This northern Utah city’s regional airport could be on the verge of significant growth.
Earlier this week, Airport Manager Jon Greiner — Ogden’s former police chief and a former state senator — approached the Legislature to seek $300,000 to fund an economic feasibility study that would help quantify that potential.
Such a report would provide data and talking points needed to compete for new airline routes at upcoming conferences, Greiner told members of the Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday.
“The next Allegiant conference is in a couple of months,” Greiner said, likening such events to speed-dating tables where airport representatives have a brief window to outline their economic feasibility and/or plans to acquire new routes.
“Over the past decade or so, the airport has been slowly building and improving itself,” Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, told the panel, mentioning its Allegiant Air commercial airline service that launched in September 2012.
As the state’s second busiest general aviation airport, Peterson said the Ogden-Hinckley Airport “is now at that critical threshold where it’s ready for some significant improvement and investment — if the feasibility can be validated through a study.”
Allegiant operates at an average 86 percent seat capacity, Greiner said, touting that the Ogden to Mesa, Ariz. route has been at 95 percent for its 18 months in business.
While the Ogden-Hinckley Airport’s current runways are sufficient, Greiner said they’re looking at the possibility of a new terminal on the west side that would separate general aviation from commercial.
“We’re doing jet and charter at the south end with Kemp Development, and we’re looking at doing a maintenance facility on the north end” — for C-130 rehabilitation, Greiner said. Such upgrades are part of the airport’s five-year plan to add routes and improve its 725 acres, he added.
The subcommittee ranked Greiner’s request at the top of its list of recommended projects Tuesday, Peterson said, and passed it on to the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
“It really is an economic development request,” Peterson said. “The (airport) traffic volume is there, but it needs to be documented in a thorough, independent study.”