KALISPELL – Glacier Park International Airport broke records in 2018 with 307,000 outbound passengers.
Airport Director Rob Ratkowski tells us the airport has seen a drastic 33 percent increase in passenger volume over the past five years.
Just in the past six months, Allegiant Air and American Airlines have added several direct flights from places like Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas. To meet these increasing demands the airport has a plan, the airport will add 40,000 square feet to the terminal, expanding baggage and waiting areas.
Ratkowski tells us what he thinks is responsible for the drastic increase.
“Obviously tourism, right? We have a huge peak in the summer time so the tourism outreach that the state and local community is obviously paying off. And what’s happening at the airport is a reflection of that,” Ratkowski said.
Renovations could be seen as early as 2020.
Ratkowski tells us the airport just met with their contractors last week to discuss the long term vision for the airport.
40,000 square feet in renovations come with a price. Ratkowski was not able to tell us exactly the amount of money needed for this project, but he estimated it could cost in the tens of millions of dollars. That money would come from the Federal Aviation Administration as well as a proposed bond.
In the future, when renovations begin, Ratkowski tells us different sections of the airport will be unaccessible. However, the airport has decided to do all renovations during shoulder season time.
Reporting by Maren Siu for MTN News