Montana Governor Greg Gianforte was the headline guest Wednesday morning at the new terminal at the Missoula Montana Airport, just days before the official grand opening on June 8.

KGVO spoke to Deputy Airport Director Tim Damrow as he led various media representatives through the nearly complete terminal.

“June 8 is our opening date,” said Damrow. “We started construction here in December of 2018. We spent quite a while getting all the earth excavated underneath to build the footprint of the building we're sitting on today. The overall budget for this phase started out at around $68 to $69 million, but right now we're trending towards the mid $66 million figure, so we’re delivering this terminal under budget, which was a big goal of the team.”

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Standing in the main lobby, Damrow pointed out the numerous ticketing stations representing all the airlines served by the airport.

“As we're standing in the lobby, this will be the first thing that welcomes everyone to the new airport,” he said. “So we're at what will be the new ticketing entrance. As you can see, first thing everyone's going to be greeted with is our common ticket bank. You're seeing 13 ticket counters with 26 total positions. It's about three times the number of what we have today. You're now seeing some of the branding above the counters. Those will actually be where the airlines are positioned here on our opening day, which will be June 8.”

Credit: Peter Christian
Credit: Peter Christian

Damrow said the new terminal computer system will reduce lines at the ticketing counter.

“We have what's called a common use system, which is basically a multi use computer system that allows airlines and employees to use any number of both ticketing and gates in the airport,” he said. “So that will hopefully reduce lines at the counter. If there's a surge of customers, they are able to expand their staff and counters easily and quickly. Same with the gates. If there's not an aircraft or a gate available to park an aircraft, we can switch airlines easily to another gate as they're not bound and tied to their proprietary counter.”

One of the guides for Governor Gianforte was Airport Board Director Adriane Beck, who is also head of Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management, who expressed her pride in the nearly completed terminal.

“I’m incredibly proud,” said Beck. “I mean, the staff, the build team, the engineers, everybody; they were so thoughtful about designing this facility as a state of the art facility for our community. As you walk through it, there's just there's so much intuition that is in the design, and you just feel like you're in Missoula, but you also feel like you're in a state of the art facility, which really is what we're after. I think that they're going to be surprised to see that they feel like they're in a big city airport, but they're right here in Missoula. And of course, an escalator.”

Credit: Peter Christian
Credit: Peter Christian

Beck was proud that the new terminal will be one of the few facilities in the state with…an escalator.

The new terminal will be open for business on June 8.

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