GPIA Adds Direct Flights to the Big Apple

JetBlue arrives in Flathead Valley to provide direct flights to NYC, while American Airlines increases services

By Tristan Scott
Travelers exit Glacier Park International Airport on July 19, 2019. Beacon file photo

The suite of passenger air services continues to expand at Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA), which on Friday announced a new partnership with JetBlue Airways that adds direct routes to New York City in addition to new routes through American Airlines.

Beginning this summer, travelers will be able to take a seasonal JetBlue flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City three times a week, during the months of July and August. American Airlines has also added service to New York City with Saturday flights to LaGuardia Airport, as well as Saturday service to Charlotte, North Carolina, slated to run June 5 through Sept. 4.

The addition of new services marks the third expansion that GPIA has unveiled so far this year. Earlier this month, Allegiant Air added a seasonal, biweekly route to San Diego from GPIA set to begin May 28 and run through Aug. 18. And GPIA will begin offering a new route to Minneapolis/St. Paul through Sun Country Airlines, another seasonal route starting in May.

The addition of JetBlue to GPIA’s lineup of airline carriers comes as the discount airline debuts in new markets through a collaboration with American Airlines.

“The JetBlue partnership increases our airline carriers from five to six,” GPIA Director Rob Ratkowski stated in a press release. “This is great news for all travelers. The JetBlue and American Airlines services will benefit Montanans, bring tourism to our beautiful area, and enhance the flight options and experiences of everyone.” 

The American Airlines announcement increases its Kalispell service from three cities — Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, and Los Angeles — to five. 

“American is excited to add once weekly, nonstop seasonal service between our Charlotte and New York-La Guardia hubs and Glacier Park International Airport,” Brian Znotins, the airline’s vice president of network planning, stated in the release. “As customers return to the skies, the National Parks System remains high on their list of summer destinations. These new flights not only connect customers to Glacier National Park and the natural beauty of Montana, but also provide local residents with access to several one-stop connections across American’s network. This new service complements our existing flights between FCA and Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles.”

New airline partnerships and expanded route options continue to increase at GPIA despite the travel decline many markets are still experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which rocked the industry last year. 

“Visitors need only step off the plane in Montana to understand the magic of our state,” Ratkowski stated. “The growth we have seen at Glacier Park International Airport in recent months has been incredible. We are thrilled to be welcoming JetBlue to the GPIA family, and we look forward to expanded flight options for area travelers.”

GPIA officials announced in January that the airport would move forward with its $100 million terminal expansion after it was halted in 2020 due to the pandemic. Airport square footage will triple and operational areas like TSA screening checkpoints and baggage areas will be improved.

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