Glacier Park International Airport Sees Record Passengers in 2017

The Kalispell airport welcomed 539,588 total passengers, compared to 492,522 the previous year

By Beacon Staff
Glacier Park International Airport. Beacon File Photo

Glacier Park International Airport announced this week a nearly 9.5 percent increase in traveler counts in 2017, easily setting a new passenger record.

The airport welcomed 539,588 total passengers during 2017, compared with 492,522 travelers in 2016. In addition to setting an overall record, the airport also reported a record number of departing passengers in every month of 2017 except March. While record passenger counts during peak travel months can be attributed to a healthy national economy, Airport Director Rob Ratkowski points out that shoulder-season months are also seeing steady growth.

“Sustained growth during slower months can be attributed to a couple of key factors,” Ratkowski said. “The local economy is doing well, which results in more locals traveling for business and pleasure. Additionally, airline carriers have increased their investment in our market, which means larger aircraft, additional seats and more direct flights.”

Ratkowski says all current trends point to continued growth in the near future, which will be central as his team develops an updated version of the airport master plan, which helps ensure airport facilities will successfully accommodate anticipated travel for the next 20 years.

The master plan is conducted in phases and is part of a year-long process. After the initial research and analysis phase, which are now in process, Glacier Park International Airport will evaluate facility updates and construction options later this year. The airport will then decide on viable design options and gather public input this summer or early fall.

For more information, visit www.iflyglacier.com.

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