By Peter Johnson
January 14, 2011
Airline passenger traffic in Great Falls grew nearly 6 percent in 2010 as Great Falls International Airport had what’s believed to be its second-busiest year, Airport Director John Faulkner said Wednesday.
The airlines reported that 159,287 passengers boarded flights in 2010. That’s 1,600 fewer passenger boardings, or “enplanements,” than the airport’s busiest year of 2005, he said. Passenger volumes in 2005 year were boosted by approximately 1,350 passengers booked on chartered military flights.
Individual Great Falls flights in 2010 were close to capacity, Faulkner said, with one big factor being increased use by passengers who drive from Canada to book Allegiant airline flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix.
A strong fourth quarter also helped, he said, with Allegiant Air adding flights to Las Vegas and Delta increasing the size of a plane serving Salt Lake City.
Federal Aviation Administration numbers dating to 1976 show Great Falls had more than 150,000 boardings in three other years: 155,851 in 1983; 152,430 in 1987, and 151,210 in 1979.
“Enplaned passengers,” or customers getting on commercial planes, are the traditional airline industry measurement, Faulkner said. Typically about the same number get off, meaning there were about 320,000 passenger trips to or from the Great Falls airport last year.
Source: GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE