Magic Valley Airport sees flights dwindle, leaving Twin Falls residents with fewer travel options

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Back in May 2021, the Magic Valley Airport located in Twin Falls began a daily flight to and from Denver, accompanied by their existing flight to and from Salt Lake City. 

After six months, the Denver flight was discontinued by SkyWest, leaving the Magic Valley Airport with a single flight to SLC with the purpose of connecting customers to international and national locations.

Madison Fitzgerald, a Twin Falls resident who travels often expressed how difficult it can be to use the Magic Valley Airport.

“My family is from Twin Falls, and we travel frequently, but always end up flying out of Boise or Salt Lake because of the steep prices,” Fitzgerald said.

Alongside the lack of residential use of the airport, local businesses have expressed their concerns. 

Business impact

According to Shawn Barigar, the CEO of the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce, the lack of flights has had an impact on the business community.  

“The diminished number of flights, the frequency of them and destinations they offer has been a challenge for our business community as they are looking to connect with their customers and headquarters,” Barigar said.

After losing the Denver service in the fall, Skywest cut its SLC flight out of Twin Falls to just one flight a day. 

“It was a lousy connection because the only flight was a mid-day flight, making it difficult to connect to the international and national airline grid,” Barigar said, “They have since changed that flight to be a morning departure, but only having that one flight has still been a challenge.”

The challenges even caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which mentioned Twin Falls’ decline in flights in a story about the impact of pilot shortages across the US.

Chobani’s manufacturing plant is one of the many businesses located in the Twin Falls area Alyson Oüten, Director of Impact and Communications at Chobani, explained how the dramatic reduction of flights has made it much more difficult for same-day travel.

“Chobani is a strong supporter of the Twin Falls airport and has successfully helped lobby for additional flights and airlines in the past,” Oüten said, “Much of Chobani’s employee, customer, and client travel occurs between the east coast and Idaho. Most people now have to fly into or out of SLC or Boise, sometimes spend the night in those cities, and then drive the additional 2-3 hours to Twin Falls.”

Expansion ahead

Officials remain hopeful the airport can keep its remaining flight – and grow in the future.

“Recently, the City and County of Twin Falls who owns the airport signed a minimum revenue guarantee agreement with SkyWest,” Barigar said,” Since then, the SLC service has been performing well, and residents hope for more flights in the future.” 

The Magic Valley airport is also in the process of the Northeast development project, which will add new space and opportunities for the airport. The project will add space for general aviation – including hangars, shops, private aircraft facilities, and more. The project will not add airport capacity for air travel.

Morgan McDonough - BoiseDev Intern
Morgan McDonough - BoiseDev Intern
Morgan McDonough is an intern for BoiseDev. She is a University of Idaho student studying journalism and advertising.

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