Story and photo by Emily Stifler | video by Brian Niles

This June and July, Gallatin Field
Airport will complete a major expansion
that has been in construction
for two years. The opening will be in
three phases.
Part of the concourse upstairs from
the Delta gates opened June 7,
when the airport started its summer
schedule. The concourse itself and
all the gates will open June 30. The
entire terminal will open July 20.
According to the airport’s Deputy
Director Scott Humphrey, the new
terminal adds about 125,000 square
feet to the existing building. The new
footprint will have 200,000 square
feet of terminal, making it the largest
in Montana.
Major changes will include a new
entrance and passenger check-in area,
four new gates, more efficient passenger
security screening, TSA bag
screening behind closed doors, and
indoor storage for airline machinery.
In the previous 12 calendar
months, a record 380,000 enplaning
passengers came through Gallatin
Field—12 percent growth in
the past seven months. Normal
growth is 4-5 percent. Humphrey
said, “Since 2009, there’s been a
lot of pent up demand to travel,
and I think that’s what we’re seeing
now. Yellowstone Park and Big
Sky play a large part for us.”
Funding for the $40 million expansion
came from three sources:
a $16 million airport bond, the
Airport Improvement Program,
and internal funds generated by
Gallatin Field’s revenue. Martel
Construction was the project’s general
Generally, 18-21 commercial flights
come through Gallatin Field daily,
though those numbers change seasonally,
Humphrey said. The airport
doesn’t have new flights lined up
immediately, but the expansion
will give everyone a lot more room,
particularly solving the morning time
crunch. More than 200 people work
at the airport complex.
The existing terminal was built in
1977, and before that, the airport was
in the current fire station.
With large timbers spanning a
vaulted ceiling and masonry walls,
streetlights and a bistro, “The new
terminal will have a Bozeman flair,
but keep the cabin look of the existing
terminal,” Humphrey said. It
will also have two elevators and two
escalators—the only escalators in the
Gallatin Valley.