Glacier International Airport Receives Federal Grant for Master Plan

Airport manager says revised master plan will take two years to complete

By Justin Franz
Glacier Park International Airport on July 18, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Glacier Park International Airport has received a $302,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to pay for a new master plan that will help guide the facility’s future.

The news that GPI would be receiving $302,000 from the FAA comes a week after the airport received $1.2 million from the federal government to reimburse it for recently purchased equipment.

Airport Director Cindi Martin said the grant would help the airport update its master plan, which was last revised in 2009. She said the airport is required by law to update its master plan every eight to 10 years. The plan helps officials determine what projects are needed to maintain and expand service.

“The master plan looks at demand and the carriers that use the airport to determine if the facilities can handle the current demand and use,” she said. “This is not a document that we produce and just put on a shelf. It’s a living document and we start working on projects as they arise.”

She said the document can take up to two years to complete but noted that some projects outlined in it will start before that. Among the projects that it will likely address is the need to repave GPI’s runways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also awarded $106,000 to the Thompson Falls Airport.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines applauded the federal grant in a press release on Wednesday.

“Montana’s airports help keep our communities connected and are critical to keeping Montana a top travel destination for tourists,” Daines said.

The local airport broke its annual passenger record for the fourth year in a row in 2015. A total of 470,238 revenue passengers traveled through Kalispell, according to airport officials. That includes 236,628 passengers who boarded a flight in Kalispell and 233,642 who arrived on a flight in Kalispell.

The 2015 total is 110,000 passengers above what the airport tallied just five years ago.