This is super exciting news for our local airport – they’ve been busily preparing for increased growth. It’s been one of the strongest airports in the nation during the pandemic.
Bozeman airport to open second concourse
October 8, 2020
By Brandon Walker EBS STAFF
BOZEMAN – Nineteen months after breaking ground on its new concourse, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will open the 75,000-square-foot Concourse B to air travelers on Nov. 5. The $26.5 million concourse addition will provide four new gates of service for the airport.
“This means a lot to us,” said Airport Authority Board Chairman Kendall Switzer. “This has been years and years in the planning through a lot of ups and downs.”
The airport terminal will now span 290,000 square feet and the new concourse is slated to be completed on schedule and within the established budget, according to Airport Director Brian Sprenger. When Concourse B opens next month, Bozeman’s airport will have a total of 12 airport gates to service inbound and outbound passengers.
Parking garage renovation aside, Sprenger noted, this is the second major renovation the airport has undertaken since 2011. “The team did a great job of keeping it within budget and on time,” Switzer said.
Martel Construction began work on Concourse B in April of 2019. The concourse will feature the new restaurant Ross Peak Grill—complete with a 5,200-pound pizza oven—Montana Gift Corral, two rooms for mothers to care for their infants, a pet relief area and multiple restrooms.
“Each time we do something, I think we step up the level and this is a level that we’re just excited to share,” Sprenger said.
Gates B3 and B4 will be utilized and serviced by United Airlines, according to Sprenger, and Alaska Airlines will provide service at B5. Meanwhile, the airport has currently elected to leave gates B6 and B7 without a designated airline service.
An exterior view of Concourse B at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. PHOTO BY BRANDON WALKER
Completing the concourse in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has airport officials and staff feeling trepidatious, Sprenger noted, but said the added space will also allow travelers to better social distance throughout the airport.
“While we’re excited for what we’re doing and seeing, we have to be aware of what is happening in the rest of the world as well,” he said.
Nationally, Sprenger added, air travel decreased between roughly 55-60 percent in September compared to last year’s data. The Bozeman airport reported a 35 percent reduction in air traveler numbers in September and anticipates a 25 percent decrease in the month of October.
Switzer cited the airport’s ease of access, pilot training program and Montana State University as likely reasons for the continued travel to the region throughout the pandemic.
During an EBS Virtual Town Hall on May 18, Sprenger reported that air traveler numbers at the Bozeman airport were just 3 percent of average for the month of April.
“We have spent quite a bit of time throughout our board meetings discussing [whether] we slow the project down,” Switzer said. “Do we stop it? This is a struggle for us and everybody acknowledges that personal and collectively, but I think that it was probably the best to keep it going.”
Sprenger acknowledged the hit the airline industry has taken in 2020 but remains optimistic.
“This was a very significant challenge for the industry and all of the people around the world, but hopefully we’re turning the corner and we’re planning for the future without that challenge,” he said.
Since May, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has added five seasonal direct flight services and one year-round direct flight option through various airlines and locations. On Sept. 21, the airport announced its latest service, a winter nonstop flight to Charlotte, North Carolina.