Airlines drop multiple flights due to low capacity numbers

GREAT FALLS- The Great Falls International Airport is voicing concerns when it comes to flights not returning to Great Falls. This comes after the Cascade County Commissioner's meeting the week before, where the issue was brought up publicly.

Airport director John Faulkner says a lot of these flights may not return for a while simply because of the low capacity numbers.

“The activity is just way down,” Faulkner says. “Obviously, in April we only had about 5% of our normal traffic. In May, we went up to 10%. June is looking much busier; we might get to 20% of our normal traffic but there's just less people flying.”

He says flights to Chicago have been very successful for years, last summer even marked the highest load factor. Since the flight is a much longer route than others, airlines have decided to completely cancel for now.

“Chicago this summer we won't have that flight at all, and that one in particular,” Faulkner says. “Obviously, we hate to see destinations go away, and we're very hopeful that we'll be able to have that back next year.”

Meanwhile, flights to Denver have also changed. Instead of sending out three flights a day from Great Falls, airlines are now only sending out one flight every two days. Although this change may be a huge headache for travelers, Faulkner says it's necessary.

“Well if they wouldn't have cut the flights, they would have lost quite a bit of money around the country. I think we're pretty typical of most other airports. the first month in April we only had about five percent of our traffic, and so obviously the airlines can't make money running all of those flights.”

Faulkner expects more flights to be added come august, and he hopes that flights slowly get back to at least sixty percent capacity.

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