Airline Competition Saved Missoula Passengers $14 Million This Past Year
In June 2018, The Missoula International Airport added American Airlines, offering nonstop service to Dallas and seasonal service to Chicago. According to Airport Director Cris Jensen, the added competition saved passengers a significant amount of money over the past year.
“When we had that full years’ worth of data, we were able to see that the actual savings to customers was $14 million,” Jensen said. “We absolutely think that is a great thing for our community. A lot of our community participated in the funding of that addition. I think it was a big win for everybody.”
Jensen says Alaska Airlines plans to launch nonstop, year-round service to Los Angeles next March and a second daily flight to Portland. He said they’re always talking to other airlines and looking at other destinations with their existing air carriers.
“We do think that there are some opportunities out there in the future,” Jensen said. “One of the challenges that we have today is that our facility is really limiting how many more airlines, airplanes and passengers we can accommodate. We are happy that we are working on parallel tracks with the terminal project and the construction project. I think we are moving forward on both accounts.”
Jensen says the first phase of their construction project will be done in fall 2021, but he says things are moving right along.
“We have another big bid opening October 20th and that will be a big day for us,” Jensen said. “We are hoping for good numbers because that will allow us to continue the project beyond the first phase if the numbers are good. So far, we have had good numbers and we are on schedule. We are actually a little bit under budget right now and we feel really good about that. With a project of this magnitude, I think that is a pretty big accomplishment. We are proud of where we are at today, but we still have a ways to go.”
Jensen also wanted to remind folks that beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, passport, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.