KALISPELL – Glacier Park International Airport is experiencing dramatic passenger growth this year, up almost 20% compared to last year.
Airport Director Rob Ratkowski says growth has been steady over the past few years, seeing about 35% more passengers compared to this time four years ago.
In particular, he says they have seen a strong May and June this year, up about 20% over last year. Ratkowski says despite seeing large percentage gains, the facility and staff are still operating just fine.
Ratkowski says more flights were available to fliers earlier this season which likely contributed to the passenger growth in Kalispell.
"Our carriers did start the peak season earlier this year compared to last year. They started it the first week of June as compared to typically the fourth week of June in year’s prior so we had bigger airplanes more frequently earlier in the year and that accounts for a lot of those percentage gains just the fact that there was more capacity available," Ratkowski ?said.
The airport also significantly expanded West Coast access to the Flathead with daily non-stop flights to Los Angeles this summer. The direct flights began in June and will go until August.
Last year United expanded direct summer service from San Francisco and increased capacity on flights to Chicago and Denver as well.