GREAT FALLS – There are a lot of positive changes going on at the Great Falls International Airport. Currently, the state’s largest airport hangar is under construction and is set to be completed within the next three months.
The hangar has the tallest door in the state and is capable of holding three 7-37’s.
The new hangar is aimed at bringing high-end private aviators to the area.
Great Falls International Airport Director John Faulkner said, “People are coming to see our community for the first time that have a lot of money to spend.”
He added that a number of people who stop to visit will fall in love with the community and hopefully invest or buy a home here.
The airport has also worked with the city to allow a new fueling station and restaurant right when you come in and leave the airport on a lot that has sat vacant the past 40 to 50 years.
It is an investment of about $12 million and 40 employees.
The airport is also currently seeing record-breaking numbers from United right now, up 26 percent over the last six months due to the daily Chicago flights that were added last summer and a third daily Denver flight.
There was a 186 percent growth in the Chicago flight last year.
Faulkner said, “The great thing about Chicago is United and us have been very surprised at where these connections are coming from. We’re bringing people in from Cleveland, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, a lot of additional traffic has just come out of the wood works to fill the Chicago flights.”
This year they plan to get the Chicago flights expanded past the traditional summer travel season all the way through Labor Day. If this is successful, Faulkner believes they are well on their way to seeing that some Chicago flight flying in the fourth quarter of the year, all the way through Christmas, when we there is still strong demand.
Faulkner said, “Because of the success of what we’ve done with Chicago already, they’re already looking at additional markets in the future. So, we really have turned the page with United.”
He added that the Great Falls airport continues to have the lowest prices in the state and to book summer flights early because they’re looking at having record volume this summer.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News