Those who have visited the Missoula International Airport in the past few weeks have noticed some extra construction in addition to the new terminals, namely in the parking areas.

Airport Manager Chris Jensen said the lull in airline travel has enabled needed updates to short term parking.

“It used to be the short term parking was $12 a day and we've actually decreased it,” said Jensen. “It's all the same short term and long term now. To parking it's just $9 a day right now, and there's signage that will tell you where to go. The first hour is free, so if somebody wants to drop off their significant other or come in and do business within the terminal, that first hour is free, and they can park anywhere they want in the existing lot. Just follow the signage.”

Jensen said the number of airline passengers is still well below a year ago, but well above the lowest ebb in March.

In an average day last year would have been around 2000 passengers coming in and 2000 passengers going out, but this year we're looking at more like half of that, or about 1000 passengers a day coming in and another thousand passengers going out.

“It's definitely not what we would experience this time of year,” he said. “So just kind of in big numbers in an average day last year would have been around 2000 passengers coming in and 2000 passengers going out, but this year we're looking at more like half of that, or about 1000 passengers a day coming in and another thousand passengers going out.”

Jensen said he was encouraged by the confidence from the airlines in Missoula due to some extra flights becoming available soon.

“The good news is. and you probably are aware of it, that the airlines seem to be a little bit more optimistic about Montana,” he said. “We've seen Alaska for example, announcing new service starting next spring to San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, which is certainly big news for us. So, fingers crossed, things are going the in the right direction.”

He complimented everyone at the airport, maintenance staff to the airlines themselves on their commitment to cleanliness during the COVID pandemic.

“To the airlines, who are going out of their way, obviously, with cleanliness,” he said. “Not just in the aircraft but hopefully in the terminal as well is certainly a focal point for all of us now and so we're continually cleaning in the terminal. We have a fogging system we use and all of the touch points that we have through the terminal are cleaned multiple times per day, and of course the airlines are doing the exact same things onboard the aircraft to make sure that our passengers are all safe.”

The Missoula International Airport is undergoing a $40 million dollar expansion with new terminals and additional parking.

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