More Passengers Now Using Bozeman Airport - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

More Passengers Now Using Bozeman Airport

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BOZEMAN - It's summer time again and people are already starting their summer travels across Montana and the country, going in and out of airports.

For the first time the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport had more passengers pass through it in the last year than any other airport in the state of Montana.

According to the Department of Transportation 879,221 passengers used the Bozeman airport this past year.

The number of passengers is about a five percent increase from June 2012 to May 2013.

"Local passengers to domestic and international passengers are all flying here," said Brian Sprenger, Bozeman Airport Director.

Airport director, Brian Sprenger said there's a number of reasons why people pass through the Bozeman airport.

"We've got up in the mountains for winter sports. We've got the summer with Yellowstone National Park, but we also need to remember we have Montana State University here," said Sprenger. "There are also a number of local businesses that require air travel and air service."

Sprenger said the additional non-stop flights the airport has added over the past couple years has contributed to the increase of passengers.

"Los Angeles is one our newer destinations in the summer and winter," said Sprenger. "Portland has also been really successful over the summer season."

The passenger increase not only shows growth for the Gallatin Valley, but boosts the local economy.

"We estimate that for each additional passenger that we have into our airport it generates that $500-$1,000 for our community," said Sprenger.

Bozeman Economic Developer, Brit Fonenot said passenger growth helps the city in their economic strategies.

"It's a reflection of this areas increase of popularity of business and tourism and it helps drive some of the strategies that we do put into place," said Fonenot.

He said the city is really focused on bringing businessmen and women to the area.

"We're trying to increase the number of business travelers in and out of the community by trying to create those jobs," said Fonenot.

In the last three years, passenger traffic has increased by 28% or nearly 200,000 passengers at the Bozeman airport, making it one of the top 120 airports in the nation.

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