(THE ELECTRIC) Airport officials across the state met with airlines in Big Sky earlier this month in the hopes of growing air service in their communities.

To help that effort, officials in Great Falls have been working to replenish their airline incentive program.

So far, the Tourism Business Improvement District, First Interstate Bank, D.A. Davidson, Cogswell Insurance, Pacific Steel and Recycling and the Great Falls Development Authority are among those that have contributed, but they’re looking to raise additional funds to apply for the grants needed to secure additional airlines and routes.

The goal is to get $400,000 in the incentive fund.

Shane Etzwiler of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce said during the Sept. 25 Downtown Development Partnership meeting that about 75 percent of the goal had been raised so far.

Airport John Faulkner told The Electric this week that his takeaway from the meeting with airlines in mid-September was that all of the airlines were impressed by the growth of air service in Montana.

“It’s really an unprecedented time for route growth in Montana,” Faulkner said. “It’s really an opportunity.”

The goals are to get a direct flight from Great Falls to California, or potentially a direct flight to Texas, Faulkner said.

The local leaders are hoping American or United would support a new flight to Los Angeles. Delta is not building new L.A. service, according to the airport.

L.A. is the third largest market at the Great Falls airport and is the largest Montana market with no direct service, according to the airport.

You can read the full story at the Great Falls Electric by following this link.