Air travelers will have a new direct flight this winter from Kalispell to Chicago.
United Airlines has agreed to fly round-trip from Glacier Park International Airport to Chicago O’Hare International from Dec. 20 through April 4. The flights will operate on Saturdays.
Kalispell already has summer flights to Chicago.
The new service is the first deal involving the upstart Glacier AERO — a nonprofit named the Airline Enhancement Regional Organization — that raised donations from the community to help increase local airline services. Glacier AERO provide a revenue guarantee of $240,000 to secure the new Chicago service.
“We’re thrilled about it. Our capacity in the summer is very good and we’re excited to give this a run,” said Paul Johannsen with Glacier AERO.
Air travel continues to grow at GPIA, and July set an all-time record for passengers with 35,137 arriving and 36,552 departing, according to airport officials.
Air traffic is up 13 percent so far this year.
“The growing consumer demand reflects the appeal of the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park region,” stated Airport Director Cindi Martin. “We appreciate our airline partners and their demonstrated faith in the region – adding up-gauged aircraft, increased flight frequency and service to/through more hubs.”
GPIA is served by Alaska, Allegiant, Delta and United with year-round service to Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Additional seasonal service flies to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland/San Francisco and Portland.