Bozeman Business Boom: How an empty parking at the airports adds up to half $1 billion in lost income for Bozeman

BOZEMAN- The fastest growing airport in the state of Montana is seeing a record low for passengers, and the empty parking lot at the airport means more than just fewer travelers.  

“I think the airport is one of the most impacted areas across the country,” Brian Sprenger the Airport Director said. 

On peak travel days, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport sees an average of 44 departures and 44 arrivals, with as many as 5000 people bustling through.

But amid this pandemic, the number of people is closer to 50 people.

“All of us have seen impacts of you know roughly 95% reductions in passenger traffic but it’s a huge impact on the airport and all of the entities and employers at the airport,” Sprenger said.

That translates into economic losses for people in Bozeman. 

“So we estimate right now that, that the economic impact on southwest Montana of not having the air traffic that we would normally see, is real close to a half $1 billion over the next six months to a year,” Sprenger said.

With so few traveling, there’s enough space at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport for your car to socially distance.

Lots being empty it’s not just a sign of the lack of people flying it’s a huge financial blow for the airport. 

“We look at parking as one of our large revenue sources to support the airport for the month of April we saw approximately 6% of normal parking revenue,” Sprenger said. 

So to put that in perspective, that’s less than 100 cars a night. 

The airport director says he feels that could be the situation for the next few months.

“Until we see Phase 3 and the governors (across the county) making that determination, really there will be no recovery of tourism traffic or airport traffic for the most part because the restriction of the 14-day quarantine has pretty much shut that down,” Sprenger said.

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