Bozeman Business Boom: an airport taking off to booming success

BOZEMAN- As the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport grows one thing has stayed the same, Brian Sprenger.

“I’ve been somewhat involved with this airport for the last 40 years,” Sprenger said.

Sprenger knows the airline industry inside and out.

“My first job here at the airport was cleaning airplanes, cleaning airliners,” Sprenger said.

He started at the airport back when he was just a kid working for Northwest Airlines he spent several years working for Northwest in Kalispell and in St. Paul, now he is the director of the airport in Bozeman. 

Things are much different from when he first started. 

“There were probably about eight flights a day or so peak day, right now this coming summer will have about 44 departures and obviously will have another 44 arrivals as well,” Sprenger said.

So that’s around 100 people a flight and then in total 5000 people a day and with that influx of people, that’s bringing a lot of money to Bozeman.

“We’re looking at an impact of about $1 billion annually between the direct and indirect economic impact for the valley,” Sprenger said.

As Bozeman grows the airlines continue to notice that, Delta just recently announced year-round daily service to Atlanta and what’s unique about is Bozeman is the smallest community with that service in the western United States.

That means we're worth the airlines taking a risk on. Some of the risks are eased by efforts in the community.

The Revenue Guarantee Fund made up of the Bozeman Chamber, Yellowstone Club, Spanish Peaks, Moonlight Basin, and Big Sky Resort operates similar to an insurance policy for airlines.

The groups involved put up a certain percentage to bring new direct flights to Bozeman. If the airline loses money the groups can put up funds to pay them back. 

But those resources haven’t been needed. Because those seats on flights have been filling up.

“Each new market that we have opened up I will tell you probably within six months we’ve seen either a business has been purchased a second home or an original home moving their family here has been done so we continue to see that access to capital being able to come in,” Daryl Schliem the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce President said.  

The more direct flights the more connections to the world Bozeman has.

“Atlanta is more than just business it’s an international connection,” Schliem said, “almost 75% of all passengers coming in are businessmen and women or families that travel to  and from their jobs out there.”  

But one of the biggest new direct flights to watch is Jetblue to New York that connects us to Wall Street and a much larger financial industry.

But for Sprenger the airport director, the booming airport has given him a chance to watch the place he loves to become successful. 

“This is what I do,” Sprenger said, “so I  certainly have been very lucky in my life to be able to be a part of something that I have a passion for and I’d like to continue that as long as possible.” 

If you have a unique business story that Bradley needs to look into you can email him by following this link.

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