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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Grand Canyon Airport Expansion Planned

The airport serving Grand Canyon National Park would be expanded under a new proposal described in this news article. The airport is located at the canyon's South Rim. Shuttles run between the South Rim and the more remote North Rim and so the expansion would make it much easier to visit both scenic areas.

Here are excerpts from the article.

A proposal to build a much larger terminal at Grand Canyon National Park Airport would allow for commercial passenger flights to the area and could boost the number of visitors to the airport to as many as 1 million each year, an Arizona transportation official said Tuesday.

Visitors from across the country typically take ground transportation into the park or fly into Las Vegas-area airports before boarding smaller planes to the Grand Canyon airport. But the Department of Transportation wants to bring in flights from other major hubs, such as Denver, she said.

Expanding the existing 8,850 square-foot terminal, located just south of the national park, would cost $10 million and could take five years. The project would be paid for with a mix of state, federal and private funding, though the Federal Aviation Administration said the airport has yet to apply for any federal grants.

Park officials said they're concerned a new terminal would mean more noise at a time when they're trying to manage the number of flights over the park and make the environment quieter.

Visitation to the park has remained relatively flat at 4.5 million annually, but parking shuttles from Tusayan are routinely crowded, and the parks' facilities are overwhelmed, park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said.

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