Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport Record Year Helping Ec - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport Record Year Helping Economy

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BOZEMAN -

More people use Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport than any other airport in the state.

Airport officials said 884,660 flew in and out of Bozeman in 2013, the most any Montana passenger airport has ever seen.

It became the state's busiest airport in May when it surpassed Billings Logan International Airport.

Just a few months earlier in March, BZN welcomed it's 15 millionth passenger.

Airport Director Brian Sprenger said he had a couple of ideas why Bozeman's airport was busy.

"I think it is twofold," said Sprenger. "Tourism continues to be strong in southwest Montana and the local economy is picking up steam."

Many hotel managers in Bozeman saw a lot of that traffic in and out of the airport in their rooms.

Bozeman's Heritage Inn owner Tom Stenzel said he doesn't have a way to track how many of his customers come via the airport, but notices many could come from there.

"The number of rental cars I have in my parking lot is extremely high in the summer," said Stenzel. "This year it started earlier."

He said his hotel was full most of the summer, like many other Bozeman hotels.

Stenzel said the community helped bring in the traffic.

"The Bozeman and Big Sky communities have done so much to help increase the tourism traffic in Bozeman specifically," said Stenzel.

BZN is also doing its part to bring in the tourists by adding services.

"Over the past several years we've added Frontier and Allegiant service, we've added new destinations and all of that makes flying in and out of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport more attractive," said Sprenger.

In December, Sprenger announced United Airlines will add a Wednesday flight to Newark, New Jersey from July 2 to August 13.

The airline already offers the same flight on Saturdays and Sundays June 12 to August 31.

The airport also made modifications in 2013 to accommodate the increased traffic by adding 312 new parking spaces and an eleventh airplane parking position at the terminal.

Construction also began on a new interchange on Interstate 90 at the airport entrance for an easier way to the airport. That is expected to open later this year.

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