$3.9 million in federal funding coming to Great Falls airport to help offset COVID-19 losses

Nearly $74 million is coming to 71 airports in Montana to help cover operations expenses, staffing and certain development projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Sen. Jon Tester’s office, the Great Falls International Airport is slated to get $3,960,216.

The funds will be used to stabilize airline costs, according to John Faulkner, director of the Great Falls airport.

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Faulkner told The Electric that generally, airlines pay the remaining airport costs after they deduct revenue from other sources.

But parking, food sales and the like are a fraction of normal and will be for months, Faulkner said.

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The federal funds will be used to restructure the airport’s debt and reduce other costs to offset those revenue impacts, Faulkner said.

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Montana airports have seen an 80 percent drop in passengers since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the vast majority of Americans to shelter-in-place, according to Tester’s office.

“Montanans rely on our small regional airports to connect our state to the rest of the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shut them down almost entirely,” Tester said in a release. “I’m glad to have helped secure this funding at a critical time—it’ll help local airports across the Treasure State keep up with their day-to-day operations so that when this crisis is over, they can continue serving their communities and driving our economy.”

The funding is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Airports will be able to use this funding for any purpose that airport revenue may legally be used, including operational expenses and certain development projects.  This funding will also require small hub airports receiving funding to retain 90 percent of employees through the end of the year, according to Tester’s office.

Nine Montana airports, including Great Falls, will receive more than $1 million in grant funding.

The other airports with that level of funding are:

  • Billings Logan International Airport – $12,721,011
  • Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport – $15,446,029
  • Bert Mooney Airport in Butte – $1,143,102
  • Helena Regional Airport – $2,999,713
  • Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell – $11,572,182
  • Missoula International Airport – $5,616,102
  • Sidney-Richland Regional Airport – $1,041,372
  • Yellowstone Airport in West Yellowstone – $17,889,095

Funding for the remaining 62 airports can be found here.