The airport continues to post impressive numbers, even over a year when visitation to Yellowstone National Park was down.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport hits 2 million passengers, breaking 2021 record
By Juliana Sukut Chronicle Staff Writer Dec 9, 2022
With one more month to go, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has already handled over 2 million passengers ,making it the busiest calendar year on record for the airport.Through November, the airport has handled 2,089,708 passengers, according to airport statistics.That’s already surpassed the last calendar year’s record, at 1.94 million passengers in 2021.
December should be busy with holiday travel, and airport director Brian Sprenger estimates the airport might tally over 2.25 million passengers by the end of the year.
Even historic flooding in Yellowstone National Park and its northern gateway towns didn’t put a damper on the number of people traveling to the state’s busiest airport, he said.There was a very small dip in people flying to Bozeman in mid-June and July, and declined 7.6% in August when compared to 2021. But that quickly rebounded, Sprenger said.
Sprenger accounted some of the large passenger numbers to locals flying in and out of Montana, not just visitors using the airport.One way to gauge local traffic is to look at the parking lot, he said, with locals much more likely to park during their trips.“We’ll end up about 15% to 18% higher passenger levels than last year, but our parking levels are looking at being closer to 30% higher than last year,” he said.
In late November, the airport completed a parking lot expansion southwest of the terminal building, which added 1,400 additional parking spaces to the airport. The airport now has 3,800 parking spaces.“With that consistently strong increase we are expecting we may still overflow into areas adjacent to the parking lot next week or just before Christmas,” Sprenger said.
“We added 1,400 stalls and it still isn’t enough for the peak Christmas rush.”
The airport also expanded its concourse in October 2020, opening a 70,000-square-foot concourse. The expansion cost upward of $26.5 million and added five gates.
Aside from the recently completed parking lot and concourse expansions, the airport has several projects underway to improve or expand the airport’s infrastructure.
Last year, the airport began construction on a new $23 million in-line baggage handling system, which Sprenger said is now about halfway completed.The airport is also in the design phase of an expansion and remodel of the east terminal.That will expand the baggage claim area to have about three times as much capacity, Sprenger said.
It would also open up space for larger airplanes on the east side of the concourse, provide more concessions within the terminal and give the airport the option to add three more gates on the A concourse.“It’ll take a few years to grow into that,” he said.