A Flathead-based nonprofit has announced a new campaign to add more flights to Glacier Park International Airport, with discussion with airline providers in Texas, California, and Arizona.
The Glacier Airline Enhancement Regional Organization (AERO) works with community members and businesses in the Flathead Valley to raise money and support for increased flights in and out of Glacier Park International Airport.
One way the group achieves this goal is getting investments from local businesses to provide financial backing for airlines unsure if flights to the Flathead are worth it for their bottom line. When AERO began in 2014, 42 local businesses invested in such a fund, raising $220,000; the new fundraising campaign hopes to bring in $330,000. This money helps provide a backstop for airlines, so if the flights aren’t full, AERO funds can still make the trip worth the while.
Currently, four airlines – United, Allegiant, Alaska, and Delta – provide direct flights from GPIA to 11 major airports. In 2007, GPIA only provided flights to three cities and since then, has heavily increased its passenger volumes, especially during the valley’s peak tourist season from June to August.
However, flight prices remain high and Glacier AERO believes that key markets are still being missed. The group’s new fundraising campaign targets new markets, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, Southern California airports like John Wayne and Ontario.
The group also began conversations with American Airlines, potentially bringing another major airline to GPIA. The funds from the 2018 campaign will go to a flight-guarantee program that reduces the risk for major airlines to bring new flights to GPIA by covering losses they initially might have from less than full flights.
To learn more about Glacier AERO and their campaign visit www.glacier-aero.com.