Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA) reports that 356,297 passengers boarded planes at the airport in 2019, up 16 percent from 2018 enplanement numbers.
GPIA passenger numbers have more than doubled in the past decade, with the airport experiencing a steady increase each year since 2010. GPIA experienced the highest concentration of passenger numbers in July of 2019.
“The rapidly increasing number of passengers walking through our doors each year is impressive,” says Rob Ratkowski, Glacier Park International Airport Director. “It reflects our community’s strong economic growth, particularly because of the increases we’re seeing year-round, not just during peak tourist seasons.”
GPIA is currently designing a $100 million passenger terminal expansion to accommodate the increasing volume of visitors each year. The majority of the work will be dedicated to passenger terminals, with additional back-of-house improvements planned for operational areas such as TSA screening checkpoints and baggage management spaces. The expansion will nearly triple the size of the current airport, improve overall traveler experience, and reflect culture and character of Northwest Montana.
“Our expansion plan prepares GPIA to manage anticipated passenger growth for the next 20 years,” Ratkowski explains. “We’re ensuring that passenger spaces are designed with future development in mind.”
The Flathead Valley welcomes tourists year-round and consistently ranks in the top three destinations in Montana. Glacier National Park reported that more than 2.45 million people visited the park in 2019 from January to August.