Ogden almost has new commercial air service locked up, reworking incentive deal

Wednesday , June 14, 2017 - 5:15 AM3 comments

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Ogden is close to adding new commercial air service, with flights out of the city-owned airport now slated to begin in October.

But before the deal is done, the city is restructuring an incentive package put together to entice an air carrier to do business in Ogden.

In March, the city administration and council began discussing a $1.5 million airline incentive to bring regular, commercial charter service to the Ogden-Hinckley airport, which is subsidized by the city’s general fund to the tune of about $500,000 to $750,000 a year.

The package included a $500,000 escrow account to guarantee city support of the operation for a year, $500,000 for initial operations, a new reservation system and marketing, plus another $500,000 for operational and marketing reserves.

RELATED: Ogden hopes $1.5 million airline incentive will make airport profitable

The city sent a “Request for Proposals” to air carriers throughout the United States and received three letters of interest and with two solid proposals, said Ogden Community and Economic Development Director Tom Christopulos.

Christopulos said negotiations with Allegiant Air and one other air carrier is ongoing, but the city is leaning toward Allegiant. Christopulos recommended the airline to the city council in a Tuesday work session.

Allegiant began providing commercial service between Ogden and Mesa, Arizona, in 2012. The airline currently offers flights two days per week.

Assistant City Attorney Mel Smith said most terms of the agreement have been settled.

A new incentive deal between the city and the airline will eliminate the need for the $500,000 escrow account and will also reduce city costs related to marketing.

Christopulos said the new incentive package will now be about $550,000.

The city originally planned for the service to begin in July, providing at least 13 round-trip flights a week to Los Angeles, Oakland and Orlando.

RELATED: Ogden City Council approves $500,000 loan for local travel startup

According to city council documents, the new deal will result in service beginning in mid-October with fewer flights per week, though the city hasn’t disclosed that detail.

The new flights will be to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Oakland, with flights to Florida possibly being added later.

Ogden City has operated a municipal airport since 1928. The original facility sat on 200 acres in southeast Ogden and had just three gravel runways. The current airport was built in 1941, then known as Robert H. Hinckley Field, named after the Ogden native who was serving as Assistant Secretary of Commerce at the time.

In 1943 Western Airlines began mail and passenger service from Ogden, with United Airlines following in 1946. Both services were discontinued in 1960 after demand decreased.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer/.

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