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Family-owned business celebrates opening of new terminal and acquisition of tour companies.
Photo: Tomas Muscionico
Papillon Helicopters and Grand Canyon Airlines/Scenic Airlines, the largest premiere “flightseeing” companies in the world, unveiled their $9-million Boulder City Aerocenter on March 23.
This marks the official debut of this ultramodern terminal that will house all of the Halvorsons’ Nevada operations under one roof, including Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Grand Canyon Airlines/Scenic Airlines, and Canyon Flight Trading Company. Completed in less than one year, the terminal is a dream come true for the Halvorson family, who oversaw the project on all levels: Chairman of the Board Elling Halvorson coordinated design and construction of the terminal; Lon Halvorson arranged financing; Kent and his company E. Kent Halvorson, Inc. served as general contractor, and Brenda Halvorson is the president and CEO of the companies.
“My father had oversight of every line and every design that went into the blueprints,” Brenda says. “We are proud of what we have built and can confidently look at the marketplace and know we are leading the way for air tourism today.”
The 30,000-square-foot terminal enables guests to seamlessly check in for all flights and tours offered by Papillon and Grand Canyon Airlines/Scenic Airlines. The terminal features 26-foot high ceilings and modern décor, with the center rotunda adorned by an enormous, avant-garde propeller with 24-foot long blades that slowly turn above passengers as they wait to board.
Additional touches include air-conditioning vents that resemble airplane engine exhaust ducts. Guests can leave belongings in a secure storage area and can purchase food, beverages, and gifts inside the terminal. Outside on the ramp, there is space for Papillon’s local fleet of 15 helicopters and Grand Canyon Airlines/Scenic Airline’s 16-airplane fleet.
“Papillon experienced a record year in 2008,” Brenda says. “This success plus our recent acquisition of four companies over the course of the last several years paved the way, literally, for this beautiful terminal which will truly make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our passengers from start to finish.”
About Papillon Airways
Founded in 1965, Papillon Airways, Inc. (French for “butterfly”) and Grand Canyon Airlines/Scenic Airlines since 1929 are the largest “flightseeing” companies in the world, with nearly 70 state-of-the-art helicopters and airplanes, specifically designed to reveal panoramic views beyond imagination. The Halvorson family recently acquired Kenai Helicopters (now known as Grand Canyon Helicopters), Grand Canyon Airlines, Grand Canyon Coaches and Scenic Airlines. These companies are the only companies that fly the entire Grand Canyon including the South and West rims, in addition to tours of Las Vegas, Page/Lake Powell and Monument Valley. Tours afford maximum flight time, enabling guests to fully discover Grand Canyon’s great wilderness and scenic attractions. During busy months, the Halvorson companies fly more than 3,500 passengers daily.
1265 Airport Rd., Boulder City