Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) When waiting for a flight, food and beverage is always a convenient option, though standing in line as the hour of departure nears isn't as grand.

With the second phase of the passenger terminal under construction, Missoula Montana Airport officials are now considering adding another food and drink option as demand increases.

As planned, the project will be included in the new East Concourse, which is under construction.

“In phase two, we're currently working to create a second bar and food option for our passengers,” Airport Director Brian Ellestad said. “We would like to expand our offerings as we continue to grow.”

Phase 1 of the terminal project opened last June, and just in time for the summer rush of passengers. The new South Concourse included four departure gates, a gift shop, and a new restaurant and bar.

The Missoula County Airport Authority awarded its concession contract to Faber, Coe and Gregg after issuing proposals and reviewing qualified bids. It also leased its liquor license to the company.

After wining the contract, Faber loaded the bar and restaurant feature with local companies including Kettlehouse Brewing and Black Coffee Roasters. The airport will stay with Faber as it eyes another concession in the new East Concourse.

“Staff and Faber have recognized the need for additional bar, storage and kitchen support space to accommodate high passenger volumes,” the airport said. “With Phase 2 under construction, the design and buildout requirements for concession space need to be finalized."

Demolition of the old passenger terminal is nearly complete, clearing the way for the new East Concourse. (Missoula airport photo)
Demolition of the old passenger terminal is nearly complete, clearing the way for the new East Concourse. (Missoula airport photo)

Along with two additional aircraft gates, a larger baggage claim and car-rental booths, the $37 million Phase 2 terminal project will give passengers more room to roam – and eat and drink – while waiting for their flight.

Under the agreement approved by the airport authority, Faber will be tasked with funding the design of the new food and beverage booth, along with purchasing equipment.

Ellestad said the airport will fund any space enhancements outside of the current scope of bid for the East Concourse concession area. The airport estimates its share of the project at less than $150,000 and would fund it from contingencies. Who lands in the new concession area hasn't been determined.

Construction of the East Concourse began late last year with the removal of what remained of the old passenger terminal. Crews have spent the past few months removing the foundation and leveling the site.

Vertical construction is expected to begin soon.

“The old basement has been back-filled and they are now preparing the new basement for piers and footings,” Ellestad said. “We're still on schedule to see steel going up in early summer.”