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Ogden hoping airport name change will mean more flights to the area

OGDEN — Ogden leaders want to draw more commercial flights out of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, and they're hoping a name change could help get the ball rolling.

If the idea gets approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Ogden-Hinckley Airport will become the Ogden-Salt Lake Regional Airport.

“As we are out with internet and various things like that, it gives us closer proximity. (It) lets people know that it’s close to the Salt Lake market, and that we are not that far away,” Tom Christopulos, Ogden’s director of community and economic development, said.

Getting the airport's name out there as a secondary airport is something they've been working on for several years.

"People could relate it more to the Salt Lake area and maybe find out more about Ogden and where Ogden is and what it is close to," said resident Robin Mackenzie-Nielson. "I think it would be beneficial."

City leaders have their eye on smaller carriers like SkyWest. Ogden does have flights to the Phoenix area through Allegiant, which recently discontinued flights to Orange County, California, and Las Vegas.

Resident Darren Storey said he'd like to have another option for travel.

"I'd welcome it," Storey said. "Like I say, I travel to Vegas a couple of times a year and I would much rather fly if it was convenient."

Christopoulos said while it's not as big as Salt Lake City International Airport which sees hundreds of flights a day, in Ogden they are hoping to increase the number of flights by between two and six flights a day.

"Most of our emphasis now after what we've been working on is what we call the 55-seat, the 75-seat aircraft, the secondary flight that would augment the flight for convenience to what goes on in Salt Lake," Christopoulos said.

Those living by the airport don't seem to mind the idea. Not even Dennis Spencer, who has dealt with the noise for 17 years.

"It would be easier here, if it was going to the place where you needed," Spencer said.

The hope is that the name change would bring more revenue to the airport, helping it to rely less on subsidies.

"Primary airports, big ones like Salt Lake City, they have plenty of ability to get gate revenue and everything else," Christopoulos said. He said small airports, whether it's St. George or Cedar City or Ogden are trying to take the burde off taxpers by having revenues greater than expenses.

Currently Ogden subsidizes the airport at about $500,000 a year, he said, which is not uncommon for smaller airports. With operations up 68 percent in flight operations, or the number of takeoffs and landings the airport sees, revenue has gone up, Christopoulos said. With the change in the name, he hopes to continue the airport's upward trajectory and reduce the amount of money it receives from the city.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc