Martin Kidsdton/MISSOULA CURRENT
Travel ran “relatively smooth” out of Missoula International Airport over the holidays, with most flights arriving and departing on schedule, the airport director said.
Cris Jensen said the few travel delays were caused by weather in other parts of the country.
“We had some weather in the area, but survived it,” Jensen said. “Most of the flights have been on time, and we’re happy about that.”
With the holiday travel season over, Missoula International Airport will set its sights on the year ahead. It recently received $1.4 million in tax increment from Missoula County to launch a $5.3 million apron expansion this spring.
The project is expected to bring 50 new jobs to the area over the next five years.
“It will allow for some development of new businesses here on the airport, like air cargo, air ambulance, helicopter and avionics,” Jensen said. “It will allow Neptune (Aviation) to expand as they work on further federal contracts.”
Jensen said the airport is also gearing up for a major overhaul of the main passenger terminal. He said the airport will begin searching for an engineering and architectural firm in early 2016 to start the design process.
“We have an old facility that was first built in 1958 and added to a dozen times,” Jensen said. “We want to make it more efficient and user friendly.”
The project will likely reduce the overall square footage of the main terminal by making the space more efficient. Jensen said the project will also improve the customer experience.
“We can park six planes today, and we’ll go to eight – that’s where we need to be right now,” Jensen said. “We’ll design the building so it’s easy to expand in the future when demand dictates.”