Missoula International Airport is a very busy place these days, and major construction projects are planned to keep pace with the growing demand.
Airport director Chris Jensen says a record setting 350,000 passengers boarded planes there last year. That’s showing no signs of slowing down this year.
“So all of our numbers are going in the right direction. The challenges that come with that is that our facility is already splitting at the seams.”
Meaning parking is tight and the lines for the early morning flights can get very long. Jensen says major renovation is just around the corner.
“We’ll actually start design this year on a new terminal facility. There’s going to be a couple of years worth of construction in front of us that’ll improve that situation. People will have to bear with us during that time, but it’s all very positive stuff; bigger airplanes, more routes and more service. Good problems to have.”
Jensen says Missoula International is also working to meet the growing demand from the general aviation sector.
“There will be seven new hangers that Homestead (Helicopters) is developing. Northwest MedStar, which is now Life Flight, is looking at a new facility. FedEx is looking at a new facility. We have about 17 acres that were available and it looks like before we even complete our improvements with the infrastructure – the taxiway, the roadway and the power, water, sewer – all the utilities – is mainly spoken for already.”
The FedEx facility will roughly double to about 53,000 square feet, which Jensen chalks up to our growing reliance on online shopping.