Price Drop Thought to Be Cause of Missoula Airport Traffic Spike
It’s been a banner year for the Missoula International Airport, with the number of arrivals and departures reaching new heights. According to airport Director Chris Jensen, October was a stand-out month that likely broke an all-time growth record.
"In the month of October we were actually up 18.1% in passengers over last October, so that's a pretty substantial growth in traffic, in fact it might be the biggest growth that we've ever seen in a single month," Jensen said. We will finish out 2018 probably up over 9% or so over 2017, so we are going to have an annual, overall record as well."
Over 70,000 people either flew in or out of Missoula in October, up over 10,000 from last year. Jensen says that the arrival of American Airlines in June, likely played a major factor in increasing the airport’s numbers.
"It's all anecdotal, but what we're seeing is that American coming into the market has caused all of the air carriers to respond competitively," Jensen said. "The Department of Transportation will put out some statistics at the end of the year that will give us a hard number, but anecdotally we are seeing fares that are, in some cases, hundreds of dollars less than we've seen in the past."
Jensen says other factors like the national economy and advertising by the State of Montana have helped to bring more people to the area in addition to more flights and lower prices.