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MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula County Airport Authority Board of Commissioners appointed Deputy Director Brian Ellestad to the position of Acting Airport Director effective March 15.

Ellestad will serve as Acting Director while the Airport Authority undertakes a search for a new Airport Director. Cris Jensen, current Airport Director, will resign from the Airport Authority on April 9 to take a new job with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.

Jenson has a long list of accomplishments during his 15+ years as Airport Director in Missoula.

During his tenure, the Authority built a new air traffic control tower, completed a major runway rehabilitation project, started an airline ground handling division, secured funding for a new terminal currently under construction, along with recruiting new airline service that lowered average airfare for all Western Montana customers.

“Cris will be dearly missed by everyone at the airport and within the community. He came into the position at a time when we needed strong leadership and he clearly delivered,” Matthew Doucette, Board Chair of the Missoula Airport said. “Brian Ellestad has a proven history of stepping in to provide management and leadership whenever necessary and the Airport will be in good hands and continue to provide excellent service as we conduct our search.”

Missoula Montana Airport said Deputy Director Ellestad has an extensive history in the aviation industry. Ellestad has spent the past 10 years as Deputy Director with the Missoula County Airport Authority. Prior to that, he was Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications for Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, KY and spent over 16 years with Midwest Express Airlines in Milwaukee where he held numerous positions including airline route planning, System Operations Manager and Director of Customer Service where he provided leadership and support to a staff of over 400 employees. Ellestad is also the past president of Montana Airport Managers Association.

You can visit the airport website at


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