BILLINGS- — Over the last two weeks, the Billings-Logan International Airport has received federal funding, which officials say will go toward COVID relief and paying for a new terminal.
“The first one was the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds, it came in and that’s $6.1 million, and today it was announced that we’re going to get our actual AIP (Airport Improvement Program) funding, and that’s something we get annually but they’re trying to scoop together additional dollars for our terminal building so we’re going to get $4.7 million for that,” says Kevin Ploehn, the director of aviation transport for the city of Billings.
The new terminal will not be finished until 2023, but parts of it could be in use very soon.
“This section here, I think we’ll see opening about January of next year. They're inside sheet rocking right now, most of the electrical wires have been pulled so they’re moving right along,” Ploehn said while gesturing southeast of the current terminal.
From this wave of airport improvement funding, Montana airports have seen just over $13 million.
Ploehn also says that airport numbers are back to normal.
“Flights have been awesome. We’re seeing a lot of people flowing through the airport. It’s starting to look like it should this time of year. On Monday, we have over 1,800 passengers departing and the rest of the week there's over 1,000 per day, so yeah, we’re back,” says Ploehn.
Ploehn also mentioned that the number of departing guests at the airport is usually nearly identical to the number of arriving guests.