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New Missoula airport terminal is expected to open in May

Missoula International Airport's unfinished terminal interior, February 2022.
Edward O'Brien
/
Montana Public Radio
Missoula International Airport's unfinished terminal interior, February 2022.

A brand-new passenger terminal at the Missoula airport is expected to open in May. The $67 million project comes as passenger traffic continues to rebound since the start of the pandemic.

Missoula International Airport’s three-story terminal expansion will increase airport capacity and introduce a host of new amenities. These include more ticketing agents and concourse space, improved wifi and one of Montana’s few escalators.

Airport officials say the new facility is needed to meet skyrocketing demand.

Missoula International Airport director Brian Ellestad
Edward O'Brien
/
Montana Public Radio
Missoula International Airport director Brian Ellestad.

Airport director Brian Ellestad says passenger traffic is rebounding since air travel ground to a halt at the height of the pandemic. Ellestad expects passenger traffic at Missoula International to soon rival 2019’s record of 455,000.

“So ‘21 was 80% of 2020, which was a big increase. We’re going to be real close to 2019 numbers in 2022, so — a good story to tell,” Ellestad says.

The new terminal is funded with a mix of federal, state and local funding.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.