By Benito Baeza, Fox New Radio / KLIX
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-Two hours after taking off from Denver International Airport Wednesday morning the first United Express jet landed at the airport south of Twin Falls.
The first flight touched down a little after 1 p.m. and marked the beginning of a second air carrier to provide service between Twin Falls and Denver, Colorado. The aircraft was given a proper welcome by two fire trucks that made a water archway the CRJ200 taxied under on its way to the terminal where a large crowd waited in anticipation for the first passengers to set foot on the tarmac.
Now travelers can choose between making connections at the Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah or Denver International. Bill Carberry, Joslin Field-Magic Valley Regional Airport manager, told a crowd gathered in the terminal that when the airport first opened one of the first airlines to service the Magic Valley was United Airlines and he welcomed them back. “Its just a great day. We’ve been working on getting United into the airport to Denver. People have opportunity, really is what it boils down to. They can travel, see family, do business, people can come here and visit our great town and our great valley,” said Carberry, “So its just a lot of fun and a lot of excitement right now.”
The new flight service was made possible by a number of local contributing organizations who helped match funding coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Grant: City of Twin Falls, Twin Falls County, Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Southern Idaho Tourism, Business Plus, Idaho Dairymen’s Association, Glanbia Nutritionals, Chobani, Idaho Power Company, Kickback Rewards Systems, and St. Luke’s.
Some see it as a sure sign of growth in the Magic Valley. “I think its just another example of a growing community. Here we’re now able to connect to even different destinations through Denver. Competitive air service that will maybe help to be even more affordable. Really making those connections for those of us that live here wanting to connect to leisure activities elsewhere, but also the business opportunities where businesses here are reaching out to their customers and clients across the nation and even around the world, and those people looking at Twin Falls to bring business here,” said Shawn Barigar, president and CEO of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce President and Twin Falls City Councilman.
SkyWest Airlines is providing the air service for United Express and also provides the services for Delta Airlines. A new website, iflytwinfalls.com, was created specifically highlighting the benefits of flying to Twin Falls and Denver.
Carberry gave credit to many people who worked hard to get the second air service to the Magic Valley, but the reality also means a lot to him personally. “I’m in the middle of a long career and you know you work at these things, sometimes you just have to pause and really appreciate where you are and its one of those days for me. I really appreciate it,” said Carberry.