Interest in general aviation prompts new hangar projects at Missoula International

Missoula International Airport has seen an uptick in interest for general aviation hangars, and several private developers have approached the airport with a project in mind.

Airport Director Cris Jensen said one developer, Mike McCue, is currently constructing five hangars for light aircraft just west of the terminal.

“We have another interested individual that wants to build another five hangars that will be in the same general location,” Jensen said. “When (McCue) finishes the first five, he wants to build a second five. We also had an individual call who’s interested in building a box hangar big enough to accommodate three or four airplanes.”

The projects provide revenue through leasing to the airport, and they mark a reversal of a past trend where Missoula International wasn’t seen as a friendly airport for general aviation.

Jensen said one of the interested builders erected a hangar in Hamilton in 2002 “because Missoula wasn’t interested.” That perspective has changed, he added.

“I love to hear that,” he said. “I hope they truly do feel that way. We are starting to see all this interest, which leads me to believe that people are starting to view us as a general aviation friendly airport.”

Missoula hosted the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association this summer – the nation’s largest aviation organization. Several hundred pilots arrived from across the region, and aircraft sat parked across airport property.

Jensen said the uptick in hangar construction is growing harder to accommodate, and will likely require a planning effort at some point soon.

“It’s been fun to watch,” he said. “But because we’re starting to see all this development, we need to go back and update our primary guiding documents.”