Updated: Butte will now have daily flights to Salt Lake and Denver

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Bert Mooney Airport

Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard MIKE SMITH

SkyWest Airlines will start providing Butte flights to and from Salt Lake City and Denver starting in January, giving the Mining City a second, big-destination city it has sought for years.

The U.S. Department Transportation sealed the three-year deal Thursday when it announced it had chosen that proposal for federal subsidies over one by Boutique Air that would provide flights to Seattle and either Bozeman or Billings.

Beginning Jan. 1, the agency said SkyWest will provide a combination of 13 weekly round trips to Denver International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport and receive an annual federal subsidy $997,186. The arrangement runs through December 2024.

The decision itself was expected, but the timing was a surprise.

“We didn’t expect the decision until the late fall but this is wonderful news,” Pam Chamberlin, manager of Bert Mooney Airport, said early Thursday afternoon.

Shortly before that, The Montana Standard received an email about the U.S. DOT decision from U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.

“Great news!” the Montana Republican said in

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