By: Emma Rasmussen, Correspondent
Image Source: FlyPrescott.com
On March 31, Prescott Regional Airport’s new terminal proudly received its first ever passenger flight after 14 months of construction. United Express flight UA5063 (operated by Skywest Airlines) touched down just before 3 p.m, just in time for the festivities.
After deplaning and gathering their items, passengers were joined by airport director, Robin Sobotta and Prescott Mayor, Greg Mengarelli, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We now have the air service that this community has needed for decades,” said Sobotta of the modern terminal. Passengers flying out of Prescott now no longer have to crowd a tight terminal or a small TSA checkpoint.
Prescott Regional Airport’s completed terminal comes just little more than a month after commuter airline Boutique Air began services between Prescott and Phoenix Skyharbor. Boutique Air’s check-in desk was previously relegated to a small corner of the old terminal, which consists of an original building constructed in the 1940s and a mobile trailer extension. The old terminal is likely to remain intact due to its historic value and the restaurant it currently houses. It sits adjacent to the newer and larger terminal.
The city of Prescott announced the new terminal in November of 2019 after securing funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the local government. The $15 million USD terminal was paid for by a $10 million USD grant from the FAA and $5 million USD from the city of Prescott. A few months after the announcement, groundbreaking began on the 18,000 square-foot terminal. Nearby roads and taxiways were rerouted to aid the updates. The new terminal includes more space for passengers, a more secure TSA checkpoint, charging port stations, an outdoor courtyard, and pet relief areas. The new terminal will also feature the work of local artists and include a self-guided tour. Improvement at Prescott Regional Airport is ongoing..
In anticipation of population and economic growth, Prescott Regional Airport intends to stretch its 7,600ft main runway to 11,000ft. The longer runway would accommodate larger airliners and encourage more airline carriers to begin service at the airport. “We expect to extend our commercial service runway within the next few years,” added Sobotta. Additionally, the airport will be able to serve larger aerial firefighting aircraft during the yearly wildfire season, keeping the community safer during hot and dry conditions.
However, the stretched runway is still a few years away, as the airport is currently improving taxiways around the airport. It is unknown if the runway surfaces will be strengthened to be rated for aircraft larger than the Boeing 737. In the meantime, Prescott Regional Airport will need to implement additional security measures to be in regulatory compliance and prepare for future airport growth. Nevertheless, change and modernity are on their way to Prescott Regional Airport— the new terminal marking a new beginning.