New direct flight will take Utahns to Disneyland and Newport Beach

The Ogden-Hinckley Airport and Breeze Airways will offer flights to Southern California’s John Wayne Airport starting in February.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell welcomes Breeze Airways to the Ogden-Hinckley Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.

Ogden • After roughly a year and a half without any commercial flights, Utahns will soon be able to fly out of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport to Southern California — with Disneyland nearby.

In a news event Wednesday morning, Ogden City officials announced Breeze Airways — a Cottonwood Heights-based airline — will begin offering flights from the small Weber County airport to the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

The Santa Ana-area airport is a short drive from vacation destinations like Newport Beach and Disneyland Park in nearby Anaheim.

Bud Hafer, director of government and airport affairs for Breeze, told The Salt Lake Tribune that after analyzing transportation data, Breeze determined Ogden is an underserved area for air service.

“I mean, there’s no commercial flights now,” Hafer said. “And it’s a lot more convenient for people to be coming into (the) Ogden airport.”

He added the flights, with fares as low as $40, will begin February 21 and fly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Breeze is the latest airline to utilize the Ogden airport for commercial use. Allegiant Air used the Ogden airport from 2012 to April 2022 before flights were stopped. The airline stopped flying out of Ogden due to a pilot shortage and the recent expansion of the Provo Airport. Allegiant offered different flights during its decade-long run in Ogden, including flights to the Los Angeles area; Las Vegas; and Mesa, Arizona.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bud Hafer of Breeze Airways at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.

In addition to Allegiant, Avelo Airlines also canceled its service to Ogden in 2022, citing cost. When it ceased service, Avelo was offering service from Ogden to Burbank, California.

While Avelo no longer offers flights to Utah destinations, Allegiant offers multiple direct flights out of Provo to places like Houston and Austin, Texas and Nashville, among others.

Hafer said there’s always a risk with entering a new market, but Breeze is confident that Ogden can be a good market for their flights, especially given how Orange County isn’t an area Ogden has had flights to in the past.

“We’ve done a lot of research ahead of time to say, ‘okay, this is a good market,’” Hafer told The Tribune. “Orange County is a good market for Utah generally, but specifically in Ogden, it’s going to have a lot of traffic that hasn’t been served before out of here.”

Bryant Garrett, the Ogden airport manager, said with the new airline, the city was in the process of courting airlines to return for some time, and improvements will be made soon to accommodate the commercial flights.

“The opportunity with Breeze is just fabulous,” Garrett said. “Because we didn’t expect it for another year, (and) we’re able to put the terminal back together better than it was.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell welcomes Breeze Airways to the Ogden-Hinckley Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.

The new airline was discussed during the Ogden City Council’s work session and regular council meeting on Tuesday night. During the work session, city staff explained Breeze Airways is expected to have four flights a week out of Ogden, with flights leaving around 12:30 p.m. Each airplane would be an Airbus 220 aircraft that would have 137 seats.

After lengthy discussion and one failed vote, members of the Ogden City Council ultimately voted 4-2 to approve a budget amendment that allocated $250,000 in city funds to Breeze to help with the costs of starting commercial air service.