HELENA – Starting later this year, Helena air travelers will have a new option when flying to Denver.
Helena Regional Airport leaders announced Friday that United Airlines will start operating a second daily flight to Denver on June 7. The flight is already available for booking on United’s website.
The new flight is currently scheduled to arrive from Denver at 1:24 p.m. and depart at 2:35 p.m., though airport director Jeff Wadekamper said the exact schedule is still subject to change. It will join United’s current Denver flight, which comes into Helena at night and leaves early in the morning.
“The more options the better,” said Wadekamper. “It’s always better to add that flexibility.”
Wadekamper said the flight has been scheduled through the end of 2018. He said he’s hopeful that, if demand for the service remains strong, it will remain on a permanent basis.
Airport leaders have wanted to add additional service to Denver for years, but Wadekamper said United contacted them in the last few weeks to offer the new flight. He said the airline is expanding service without asking the airport for any incentives.
“That doesn’t happen very often now,” he said.
Wadekamper said Helena’s current flights to Denver have generally been relatively full.
The new Denver flight is not related to the airport’s application for a federal Small Community Air Service Development grant. Leaders have asked for funding to be used as an incentive to attract additional service to Seattle or new service to Portland. Wadekamper expects to learn as soon as next month whether the airport will receive the grant.
The prospect of new service comes as airport leaders prepare for a major expansion to the terminal. That project could begin construction in June.
“Now that we see these things coming, it reaffirms that this project is very timely,” said Wadekamper.