Martin Retiring as Glacier Park International Airport Director

Cindi Martin stepping down amid record flights and following $34 million in improvements

By Dillon Tabish
Ticket lines at Glacier Park International Airport on Jan. 6, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Cindi Martin is retiring as director of Glacier Park International Airport, ending a tenure that saw record passengers and a significant makeover of the largest airport in Northwest Montana.

Martin will retire Aug. 31, ending her 10-year career as GPIA director and a 30-year career in aviation. The Flathead Municipal Airport Authority Board appointed Robert Ratkowski as the interim director while a search is underway for a permanent director. Ratkowski has been with the Airport Authority since 2004 and served as deputy airport director since 2007.

“It has been my privilege to serve the Authority, and to work alongside the professional and dedicated staff who work tirelessly to operate a safe and compliant airport each and every day,” Martin stated. “After almost three decades in aviation and 10 years as Airport Director at GPIA, it’s time to transfer leadership to the next generation.”

Under Martin, GPIA has evolved into one of the largest airports in Montana. In 2006, the airport only had three carriers flying to four destinations. Now there are 10 destinations served.

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 airport itself has undergone significant growth. In 2015, which marked the 40th anniversary of the Flathead Municipal Airport Authority being established to operate and oversee GPIA, a nine-year, $34 million capital improvement project was completed. The project included a sizable makeover of the terminal and several improvements to the site’s infrastructure.

“Cindi Martin has been a very strong leader, and one who has managed the Authority and Glacier Park International Airport through challenging times and changes in the industry,” stated Dennis Beams, chairman of the board. “The board is grateful for her leadership, her commitment to the airport board, staff, tenants, the community and the flying public. All evident in her thoughtful development of the airport, and her distinguished tenure as Airport Director over the last 10 years.”

Beams pointed to the significant improvements and record passengers as evidence of Martin’s leadership.

“Today, despite the downturn in the economy and consolidation in the airline industry, GPIA enjoys direct service on four air carriers to five year-round hub cities and an additional five seasonal hub cities,” Beams stated.

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