GREAT FALLS – Great Falls International Airport welcomed its first flight of the season from Chicago on Thursday morning.
Passengers on board the flight from Chicago to Great Falls were welcomed at the airport with a tee-shirt, goodie bag, and Chicago-style hot dogs while waiting for their luggage.
Two years ago, the Chicago flights started to run on the weekends. Last year, it was expanded to also run on Wednesdays.
But the demand for these flights keeps rising and this year is the first that includes daily flights in and out of Chicago, which more than doubles the capacity from previous summers.
Shane Etzwiler, CEO of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, says they are finding that more business travelers are using these flights because they are finding it easier to travel back east.
He says in addition to people coming from bigger markers like New York and Boston, they are also seeing a big increase coming from secondary markets including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Charlotte that all want to explore beautiful Montana.
“These flights are great for local Great Falls businesses. People are coming to Great Falls and staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, and shopping around Great Falls, all while experiencing genuine Montana,” he said.
Chicago daily flights for this summer will end on August 20th.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News