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Glacier Park International Airport in early stages of expansion - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Glacier Park International Airport in early stages of expansion

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KALISPELL - Following a record-breaking summer season both in tourist count and economic impact, Glacier International Airport announced its now the fastest-growing airport in the state.

But with the airport expected to start offering direct season flights to and from Los Angles in June, can it keep up the pace?

"Probably in the next three or four years, I imagine, we'll see some pretty significant construction here at the airport," said Airport Director Rob Ratkowski.

As visitation to Glacier National Park continues to climb, the airport continues to set records. And with all that growth, Ratkowski says the airport is in the early stages of a building and terminal expansion.

"We haven't identified even how much more space we might need. But we are starting that planning process and we're going to take a look at where the needs come in at and then we'll start designing a project around that."

He says the first step is to develop an updated version of the airport master plan.

Ratkowski says they're working with specialized airport planning consultants to help ensure the plan will successfully accommodate anticipated travel for the next 20 years.

"So if it says in five years we're going to have another 50,000 passengers then we figure out how much space another 50,000 passengers will need, how much space all of the airplanes would need and then we design for that."

But for right now Ratkwoski says the airport can handle the continued growth.

"The good news is even with the record passenger count, the building can handle it right now. And so when they did the master plan in the design for this building 20 years ago they did a good job, because here we are 20 years later and the building can still handle it."

In next year the airport will look at viable design options and gather public input in late summer or early fall of 2018.

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