KALISPELL — Expansion at Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA) in Kalispell is set to resume after the project was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Airport Authority Board Directors approved the $100 million terminal expansion project to move into the bidding process after the project was stalled in late March of 2020.
GPIA Director Rob Ratkowski says the project is expected to nearly triple the airport's existing square footage to accommodate increasing passenger numbers.
The number of terminal gates will grow from five to seven, six of which will have jet bridges. Ratkowski says expansion projects may start as early as March once the bidding process is complete.
“We’ve got an early work package that’s going to involve some utilities and also relocating our outbound bag system,” Ratkowski said.
“And then we’re going to take June and July off to let the groundwater go down and then hopefully in August we start excavation on the new basement on the west side of the building, so that’s when things will really start looking exciting around here,” Ratkowski added.
He says the project is looking at completion in August of 2023.
Ratkowski noted that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the airport reported a 30% increase in passengers over a three-year period.
Additionally, he says GPIA has led all airports in the State of Montana in flights flown throughout the pandemic.