Neptune Aviation met with a number of business representatives in Missoula today to discuss a program to try to enhance the instate air service in the state, including a route between Missoula and Billings every day.

"We're going to be working with businesses over the next five months, small focus groups, to identify specifically what are their needs and validate whether or not it's a Missoula to Billings trip one, two or three days a week, or five days a week, or if there's other locations they would be more interested in," Neptune CEO Ron Hooper said. "But starting August 1, we plan on rolling the program out by selling what we call 'memberships' to the charter service."

Hooper said after the meeting, a number of businesses including Community Hospital, Providence St. Pats, the University of Montana and several other construction companies expressed interest in the routes.

"I don't want to imply it's limited only to businesses. People can buy a membership as well, or if a business with a membership is going over there with an empty seat, they wanted to bring a guest along, then they can bring a guest at the same price as the membership," Hooper said. "For example, if I'm a corporate executive and I want to fly once a week to Billings, I could pay $2,800 for four trips during the month, that's round-trip four times. If I'm a business leader who only wants to go once a month, that's $750 and that will get you one trip a month over to Billings and back."

As far as potential routes for travel outside of the state, Hooper said more market research is being done to see if there is a need to expand their services.

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