The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released 2018 third quarter airfare data, demonstrating a $2.8 M savings in Missoula airfare following American Airlines’ entrance into the Missoula market with service to Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare.

Round-trip travelers to Dallas and Chicago destinations also saw ticket prices drop by $40 and $130 respectively, compared to a year ago.

According to a press release:

'On June 7, 2018, American Airlines began daily non-stop service between Missoula and Dallas and seasonal service between Missoula and Chicago as a result of a revenue guarantee effort spearheaded by Destination Missoula, the Tourism Business Improvement District, the Missoula International Airport, and the Missoula Economic Partnership, dubbed Take Flight Missoula. The guarantee includes a federal Small Community Air Service Grant and $400,000 in community match, funded by local business entities and other contributors.'

Grant Kier, Executive Director of the Missoula Economic Partnership said several Missoula organizations are involved in the successful program at the Missoula International Airport.

“We’re thrilled that the Missoula Economic Partnership has built a wonderful collaborative partnership with Destination Missoula, the Tourism Business Improvement District and businesses throughout Missoula and the Missoula International Airport,” said Kier. “We’ve worked together to try to create an incentive program with support from the federal government to expand airfare in Missoula, and we were able to do that last year with American Airlines last year.”

Kier said other airlines took their cue from the increase in flights by American Airlines in Missoula.

“We did see an increase in routes as American Airlines came into Missoula by expanding routes to Dallas and to Chicago,” he said. “We also saw a response from other airlines as they increased the number of flights and the size of the planes they were bringing into Missoula. What we’ve seen is a really exciting savings for people flying in and out of the Missoula airport, and what we’ve seen at MSO is a $2.8 million dollar savings in the third quarter of 2018, which is the first year-on-year comparison since American Airlines came into this market.”

Kier said the partnership between private and public entities brought about significant savings for airline travelers.

“We’re incredibly grateful to our partners in the federal government for offering the $600,000 contribution to this $1 million dollar guarantee, and so we’re grateful for Senator Steve Daines, Senator Tester and Representative Gianforte,” he said. “We’re incredibly grateful to the private sector for the match on our side of $400,000, and we’re especially grateful to Destination Missoula and the Tourism Business Improvement District that have stepped up and made an over $200,000 contribution on behalf of our community.”

Senator Daines was at the airport on Tuesday to take part in the ceremony.