With traffic up 9 percent in 2017, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) Airport Director Brian Sprenger said the airport’s new 5,050-foot asphalt runway will help to separate general aviation from the airport’s commercial traffic, creating a more efficient environment for transient aircraft operations and flight training.
The new runway was first envisioned in 1972, and was completed this year at a cost of $7 million, paid for through two years of Airport Improvement Program grants and 10 percent matching funds from the local airport authority.
BZN serves as a home base for 31 companies with more than 700 employees, and is an economic hub to the local community, surrounding region and entire state. In the 2016 Economic Impact Study for Montana Airports, by the Montana Department of Transportation, both on-airport spending and spin-off economic impacts totaled approximately $750 million when the airport’s 2017 traffic increase is factored in.
“The community is very supportive of the airport and its contribution to the local economy,” Sprenger said. “The new runway will accommodate the growth that so often comes with strong business aviation operations.”
Kristi Ivey, NBAA’s regional representative for the Northwest, agreed the new runway will be an asset for business aviation.
“It is extremely good news to see construction of new runways in a time where airports are facing closures and pressure for diminished access in other parts of the country,” she said. “I am pleased to see airport infrastructure expansion and improvement projects being supported by the community and our elected officials.”
Of the 80,000 annual tower operations per year at BZN, general aviation accounts for 80 percent of traffic, which includes heavy flight training use by the aviation program at Gallatin College.
“Our new runway will allow students to perform pattern work and practice approaches independent of the commercial traffic being handled on the main runway, thereby increasing training efficiency and lowering the overall cost of flight training,” Sprenger said.