KALISPELL – Construction of Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell is officially underway after board members approved the expansion project last week.
“Last Tuesday’s meeting was the culmination of four years of planning and design efforts, so it was truly a milestone in the life of the airport,” said Glacier International Airport manager. Park, Rob Ratkowski, at MTN News.
As the number of visitors to Flathead Valley continues to increase each year, Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell has decided to grow alongside them.
Ratkowski said that the first phase of the expansion project is underway, the expansion is expected to nearly triple the airport’s current area to nearly 200,000 square feet.
“We started to see strong growth curves around 2016, 2017 and that’s when we started planning the building,” Ratkowski said.
Ratkowski said the project includes an increase in terminal doors as well as jet bridges, a full-service bar and restaurant after security checkpoint, etc.
He said expansion was needed to meet the growing demand for air travel.
“Almost 100,000 more aircraft seats on the market this year than in 2019; 2019 was our banner year, so we anticipate a very busy summer, ”Ratkowski told MTN News.
Ratkowski expects the passenger experience to remain largely unchanged during the busy summer season as construction continues.
“We have to do all this work and the building still has to function as it always has. Some people have equated that to rebuilding an engine while it’s still running, so it’s definitely a balancing exercise with phasing, ”Ratkowski said.
The expansion is expected to be completed by April 2024.