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Kalispell airport expanding to meet growing needs

Posted: 3:27 PM, Oct 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-17 17:49:13-04

KALISPELL – Tourism and business in northwest Montana have been reaching-record breaking heights and Glacier Park International Airport is now in the early stages of a building and terminal expansion.

Airport Director Rob Ratkowski addressed the community at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday saying that the expansion is related to the record-breaking visitation to the region.

Glacier National Park visitation broke records last year while the airport reported that 40% more passengers passed through the terminal.

Ratkwoski says the airport can handle the continued growth for right now but they are continuing to update the master plan for the airport’s terminal expansion construction process.

Ratkowski says they’re working with specialized airport planning consultants to help ensure the plan will successfully accommodate anticipated travel into future.

“We’re seeing double-digit increases across all of our shoulder seasons and peak season,” Ratkowski said. “And when we get to the peak, we can only grow so much because we’re already on peak. But we’re still seeing 10% growth — even on our peaks. So I’m happy to report the money is back and people are traveling.”

The airport was constructed by Flathead County in 1948 and has been owned and operated by Flathead Municipal Airport Authority since 1975. The facility moved to its current location in 1982 and expanded in 1999.

Reporting by Nicole Miller for MTN News