Montana airports have seen a dramatic drop in travel and sales due to the coronavirus, but some relief is on the way. According to U.S. Senator Steve Daines, $73.8 million will be directed to 71 Montana airports to handle the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted our Montana airports which are vital to our economy and communities,” Daines said. ”This funding is critical for Montana airports to help stay afloat and keep workers employed during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Missoula International Airport will receive $5,616,102 and Director Cris Jensen says those funds will be used in many different ways.

“Typically, when we get federal funds, we are not able to use those funds for operational purposes so we can’t normally pay wages, utility bills, or things of that nature,” Jensen said. “In this case, we actually can. We will pay some wages to keep people employed. We will pay some of our utility bills and things of that nature. We will also use the funds to help us pay for the ongoing construction at the new terminal project.”

Jensen said there currently aren’t any revenues that would have normally helped pay for that project. The funding package for the first phase of the project was in place prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“First Security Bank is the organization we are working with for debt on the project,” Jensen said. “We had a great call with them this past week. We are very fortunate they continue to be supportive of the project and making sure we have access to the funds we need.”

Jensen said the pandemic has had little to no impact on the construction project at the airport.

“The only real impact that we are seeing at the moment is that some of the materials that we need for the construction, like elevators and escalators, are a little bit delayed,” Jensen said. “Other than that, we believe the opening schedule is still the same as it has always been, which is really late 2021 or very early 2022.”

Jensen said they’re practicing all the safe behaviors at the airport and they’re grateful for all the support from the community.

Below are some of the larger grants for Montana airports:

·        Yellowstone Airport, West Yellowstone, MT - $17,889,095

·        Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Bozeman, MT - $15,446,029

·        Billings Logan International Airport, Billings, MT - $12,721,011

·        Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell, MT - $11,572,182

·        Missoula International Airport, Missoula, MT - $5,616,102

·        Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, MT - $3,960,216

·        Helena Regional Airport, Helena, MT - $2,999,713

·        Bert Mooney Airport, Butte, MT - $1,143,102

·        Sidney-Richland Regional Airport, Sidney, MT - $1,041,372