BY KEVIN PLOEHN,
DIRECTOR OF AVIATION AND TRANSIT
BILLINGS LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
An early rendering of the remodeled Airport pictured here. See more at FlyBillings.com.
When asked, “How are things at the Airport?” The best response would be, “Great and going to get better.” The Billings Logan International Airport has been announcing a lot of good news as of late. With the help of the Chamber, Big Sky Economic Development, Visit Billings and the Tourism Business Improvement District, and all their members who stepped up with financial contributions, direct service to Dallas on American Airlines began two years ago. That was followed with the start of direct service to Denver on Frontier at the end of last May. Billings now has six commercial carriers with seven to nine direct flight destinations, depending on the time of the year. Plus, the Airport also has an Essential Air Service (EAS) provider serving five of Montana’s Northeastern communities, making Billings very accessible, particularly for those who travel to town for medical visits, business, and recreation, all adding to the Billings economy. And the good news keeps on coming! In calendar year 2018 the Airport set passenger and cargo tonnage records and those record numbers are on pace to be exceeded again in 2019.
In order to keep up with the expanded service and to give the passengers a better Airport experience, your Airport is about to change. After years of planning, the Terminal Concourse Expansion project starts in late September to construct a facility that will offer the travelling public a concourse area with great views, more seating, more concession space including sit down dining, a comfortable sitting area in the center of the concourse near all the concessions, and more restrooms. For those that want a peek at what this is all going to look like, an architectural fly through of the space is available on the Airport’s website www.FlyBillings.com under the Information dropdown menu. It’s also worth noting that these Airport improvements are not paid for by taxpayer dollars.
While a lot of planning has gone into trying to make this construction process have as little impact as possible to our customers, it will not be without some inconveniences, mostly related to placing all the boarding activity on the old B Concourse while the new A Concourse is being built. This will undoubtedly result in times when it will be a bit crowded. Fortunately, using the old B Concourse for all passenger operations will only last until May of 2021, when the new A Concourse and Great Room areas should be completed. Then all of the boarding operations will move to the new A Concourse where it will be more spacious and all the new concession venues will be operating, while the new B Concourse is constructed. When totally completed in 2023, the new Terminal Concourse will have eight passenger loading gates, versus the current five. And, if more gates are needed in the future, the design provides the ability to add four more gates with very little disruption.
It’s an exciting time for the Billings Airport and the supporting community. As I said earlier, things are “great and only going to get better!”