Flying to paradise – Bozeman, Montana
By Leslie Kilgore
With an increasing number of families leaving urban areas for a more balanced life in the mountains, Southwest Montana continues to grow exponentially. Both full-time and part-time residents are choosing the area for many reasons, including the ease of access to wilderness, rivers, skiing and open spaces. Bozeman and Big Sky are especially appealing due to the growth at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN).
Currently, nine airlines with 23 non-stop destinations serve close to 20 states around the country, with a major return of international travelers revisiting the national parks, ski areas and several elite mountain clubs in the state.
At the end of 2023, American Airlines announced the return of summer seasonal service to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) beginning June 8th, 2024 through the end of August. Flights are set to operate on Saturdays.
In the past few years, the airport has undergone major renovations, added a new restaurant and bar area, made a $22 million improvement to the baggage system, and acquired $30 million in new snow removal equipment. The city of Bozeman and the state of Montana have put an exceptional amount of money and efforts into the airport due to the growth in visitors and return travelers.
The airport has seen an increase in private flights in 2023, and private jet use climbed 5%-6% in the past year. There are about 50 charter and private jets based at the airport that can fly nationally and internationally. In addition to people using the jets to fly into Bozeman, they serve other uses that boost the local economy.
The top markets serving BZN currently include:
Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicago, and Atlanta.