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8:24 AM Sat, Nov. 17th

Mengarelli: Changing the paradigm for commercial air service in Arizona

The City of Prescott announced in a Tuesday, July 17, news release that SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Express, was approved to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) for a period of two years, beginning in late August. (SkyWest Airlines/Courtesy)

The City of Prescott announced in a Tuesday, July 17, news release that SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Express, was approved to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) for a period of two years, beginning in late August. (SkyWest Airlines/Courtesy)

We are pleased to announce new Essential Air Service (EAS) for Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC), featuring commercial jet service for the first time in our aviation history. SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Airlines Express, has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will begin operations on August 29. This is a game-changer for air travel, not just in the Quad Cities, but in all of north central Arizona.

Beginning on August 29, United Express will fly 50-seat jets — Bombardier CRJ200s from Prescott to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) six days a week, and to Denver International (DEN) seven days a week, with one round-trip each day.

Within the United Airlines system, Prescott passengers will be able to connect with over 650 worldwide destinations. They will be able to use United’s booking system, their own travel agent or favorite online booking site.

This changes the paradigm for air travel in our region. Here’s why: For most air travelers in the Quad Cities, Payson, Verde Valley, Sedona and Flagstaff, the options have been limited. Air travel involved a commute to Phoenix, with a minimum of a two-hour trip each way. Cost of gas, travel time, hotel rooms, and possible highway closures have made the Phoenix route stressful and costly. Before now, there was not a good alternative.

With this announcement, that paradigm has changed. Now you can make an easy trip to PRC, park for free, then go through a relaxed and comfortable security and terminal experience, before boarding a plane that will get you almost anywhere in the world with one stop. If your destination is L.A. or Denver, it’s a nonstop.

Additionally, Prescott will benefit from an increase in travelers coming to town. Los Angeles is the number one tourism market for Prescott outside of Arizona. The Prescott Tourism Office has already been promoting Prescott’s “True West, Real Adventure” campaign to LA.. for the past few years. This air service will complement our marketing efforts and bring more visitors from Southern California.

I want to thank our Airport Director, Dr. Robin Sobotta and her team at Prescott Municipal Airport, the Airport Advisory Committee, Prescott City Council, Prescott Valley Town Council and the rest of the area leadership for their support of this new endeavor.

Now, it’s our turn to support this new air service in Prescott. The airline has indicated that they are open to adding flights if demand is there.

Go to United.com to book your flight, today. We are excited about this new air travel opportunity. It’s a game-changer for our region.