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Up, up and away: BZN sees more than 1.94 million passengers in 2021

Over 40 percent of passengers traveling to or from Montana used BZN
bzn crowd
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 13:00:22-05

BOZEMAN - If you thought BZN was busier than usual, you would be right.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) handled an all-time record of 1,940,191 passengers during 2021. This is an increase of 118.1% over COVID impacted 2020 and a 23.3 percent increase over the previous record of 1,573,860 set in 2019.

More than 40 percent of passengers traveling to or from Montana traveled through BZN in 2021. On a national basis, the Transportation Security Administration reported a 31.1 percent decline in passenger throughput across 440 U.S. airports for 2021 compared to 2019.

“BZN has been fortunate to see a very robust recovery in passenger traffic with record-setting passenger levels since April 2021. It is estimated the increase in passengers in 2021 generated nearly $200 million in additional economic activity for Southwest Montana compared to 2019,” said Brian Sprenger, Airport Director.

The addition of Southwest Airlines to the market with access to their network and passenger loyalty was a highlight of 2021. In addition, nearly every airline serving BZN added additional destinations during the year including new seasonal non-stop markets such as San Diego, Austin and Washington, D.C. Also fueling the increase in passengers was the average aircraft size serving BZN increased from 99-seats in 2020 to 124-seats in 2021.

In a press release, officials said the Air Traffic Control Tower handled an all-time record 116,055 aircraft operations during the year, up 11.5%. Business aviation operations increased 27.4% to 15,288. General aviation accounts for 63% of aircraft operations, scheduled passenger and cargo airline service accounts for approximately 24% with business aviation accounting for the remaining 13%. There were 107 general aviation international arrivals handled at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office at BZN during the year compared to 98 during 2020.

BZN added two new passenger boarding bridges and began construction of a new $23 million dollar in-line baggage handling system which will incorporate the newest TSA technology for baggage screening. Fourteen new private hangars were constructed during 2021 with an additional sixteen either under construction or in the design phase. BZN also began construction of a new ramp, roadway and infrastructure on the north side of the airport to serve our thriving flight schools. BZN is the seventh busiest airport in the 7-state Northwest Region of the country (region including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) and the 86th busiest airport in the nation in terms of passengers.

Passenger totals in and out by airline brand in 2021 were:

  • Delta Air Lines – 519,913
  • United Airlines – 496,313
  • American Airlines – 305,315
  • Alaska Airlines – 228,867
  • Southwest Airlines – 216,826
  • Allegiant Air – 88,894
  • JetBlue – 32,087
  • Frontier Airlines – 22,157
  • Sun Country – 12,912   
  • Avelo – 12,320
  • Chartered Airline Flights – 4,587