The number of passengers coming through Billings Logan International Airport rose by 5 percent in 2019, a sign of the region's overall healthy economy, airport officials said Thursday.
And to keep those numbers strong, airport officials are urging travelers to get a REAL ID or passport before fall, which they will need to board planes.
A total of 950,847 passengers came through the gates last year, up from 904,873 passengers in 2018, airport officials said in a news release.
The 2019 total was broken down into 451,564 enplanements (people boarding in Billings) and 453,309 deplanements (those arriving in Billings), according to the release.
In addition, the airport saw a 21 percent increase in 2019 in total cargo mail coming and leaving. Airport workers handled just over 101 million pounds last year compared to 83.2 million pounds in 2018.
"After having record numbers in 2018, it was really exciting to watch 2019 and know that the Billings airport was going to exceed those record numbers in 2019 for both passengers and freight," Airport Director Kevin Ploehn said in a news release.
Ploehn added that 2019 finished strong, with December passenger numbers up 14.3 percent and freight up 29 percent compared to 2018.
"Numbers like these show that the region is still doing economically well and folks are taking advantage of the additional air service options the Billings airport has to offer," he said.
All travelers will need to present a REAL ID care or passport to board a plane starting Oct. 1. A driver's license by itself will no longer be enough.
"We really do not want to see anyone denied access to their flight due to improper identification, so spread the word, and make your appointment with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division at a location near you," Ploehn said.