MISSOULA - Missoula Montana Airport is set to open its new passenger terminal next month following months of demolition and years of construction, marking the completion of one phase and the beginning of another.
The airport on Thursday said the terminal would become operational on June 8, just ahead of the busy summer travel season. Many airlines that serve Missoula begin seasonal service in June, including flights to Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland.
“The airport’s terminal expansion project modernized the facility to serve the region well into the future, providing passengers an elevated travel experience at MSO,” the airport said in a statement Thursday ahead of its official opening.
Demolition of the old western wing of the airport began back in January 2019 and construction followed over the next two years. The pandemic set in later that spring, hitting the commercial aviation industry hard.
But the Missoula County Airport authority made a decision to push forward, and the timing proved key as Congress would soon pass a suite of rescue bills. The funding helped keep the airline industry afloat, and it provided the revenue needed to keep the terminal project on track.
“We’ve been able to construct this entire facility out of site and out of mind to the public until we open,” deputy airport director Tim Damrow said earlier this year. “We haven’t had to reduce flights into the airport.”
At a cost of around $67 million, the new terminal includes four gates, room for additional ground boarding, larger passenger rooms and more amenities, including a bar and restaurant. It also offers sweeping views of the airfield and new technology to make the facility more energy efficient.
The airport authority last month voted to begin the project’s second phase, which will include removing what’s left of the old terminal and replacing it with a new east concourse. At an estimated cost of $30 million, the east wing will also offer new amenities and three additional passenger gates, along with two baggage carousels.
The airport will host a public open house for the new south concourse on Tuesday, May 31 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parking will be limited and the first 60 minutes are free in either short or long-term parking.