Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport set another record for passengers last year. And this year has the potential to be another banner year.
The Bozeman airport saw more than an 8.4 % spike in the number of travelers in and out of Bozeman in 2016, the airport’s seventh consecutive year of record breaking passenger traffic.
Brian Sprenger, Airport Director, Gallatin Airport Authority, said there are several factors for the growth.
“We are positively impacted by the growth of the Big Sky Resort and Yellowstone National Park from the tourist side,” said Sprenger. ”But on the local side we continue to see growth numbers from our local passengers flying in and out of our airport here.”
Passenger and cargo airline service accounts for about 20 % of aircraft operations at the Bozeman airport, with general aviation accounting for 72 %. This includes private aircraft and the local flight school. Those numbers could see a spike this year when a parallel runway is completed this summer.
“What it will really mean is separating our fast moving aircraft—the jet aircraft—from our slow moving aircraft—generally the propeller aircraft,” Sprenger said. “It will allow more efficiency for getting into and out of Bozeman. That makes a really big difference for our flight school traffic at the college.”
The airport director said the challenge with any growth is trying to keep up with infrastructure, so they continue to look to for ways to meet the growing passenger numbers. Besides the new runway, he says they are looking at starting construction of a multi-use parking garage.
“We are hoping if everything lines up that construction could start later this year," said Sprenger. "And then once that’s complete we will be looking at concourse expansion that would add about three gates to the airport.”
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is Montana’s busiest airport, accounting for 29% of all air travelers into and out of Montana. And they are now the eighth busiest airport in the seven-state Northwest Region of the country.
Later this year the Bozeman airport will celebrates its 75th year of serving the traveling public of southwestern Montana.