The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport executive director says the airport could offer flights to Denver by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Tony Bean said during this week’s Pullman Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting the airport is continuing its efforts to bring a 50-passenger United Airlines jet to the airport, which could make the trip to Denver in less than two hours.

The airport’s application requests two flights per day, but Bean said that depends on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport may start out offering one flight per day.

Bean told the Daily News on Thursday that Denver flights are not guaranteed until “we have ink on paper” and the airport must continue to ensure financial support for the flight is solidified.

Last July, the Pullman airport won a $780,000 Small Community Air Service Development grant to encourage United or a carrier affiliated with United to introduce Denver flights.

In December, the Whitman County Commissioners approved $400,000 in funding to assist the airport.

In a February Daily News report, Bean said the airport has four years to spend the money and wants to be careful about the timing of any expansion.

The airport is also continuing to solidify its design plans for a new terminal that Bean expects to initially be 40,000-45,000 square feet. The current terminal is 8,000 square feet.

Bean said the creation of the terminal will happen in phases. He said estimates show the terminal will need to be expanded to 65,000 square feet in 20 years to handle local population growth.

The airport hopes to begin construction this year. It will first hold public meetings beginning in April to present a concept of the terminal. A terminal advisory committee with representatives from around the local communities was formed to provide input.

Bean said the airport currently has a rough design of the terminal, which he promised will not be a square box building.

The new terminal will be paid for with millions coming from CARES Act funding and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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