By RACHEL ANDERSON/ Montana State News
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport recently announced new, non-stop seasonal summer service between Bozeman and New York-LaGuardia and Houston.
The Bozeman Airport serves the recreation areas of Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and the Bridger Bowl Ski Area as well as the business centers of Bozeman, Belgrade, and Livingston and higher education at Montana State University.
Delta Airlines will operate the flights from Bozeman to New York-LaGuardia.
New York- LaGuardia is an airport located in the northern part of New York City. As the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a high volume of tourists use the airport as a hub or home airport for travel.
United Airlines will offer the direct flights from Bozeman to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, located in Houston, making traveling to other destinations such as South America more accessible.
A direct flight between both cities will generate easy and direct access to the greater Yellowstone area-boosting industry statistics. Montana tourism is a primary source of revenue for the state, and is one of the leading industries.
As stated by the Montana Office of Tourism, 10.8 million visitors traveled to the state in 2012. Visitor spending provided $1.2 billion in worker salaries, and one in every 15 Montana workers is supported by out-of-state travel.
According to a press release from early January, the Bozeman Airport handled 884,660 passengers flying in and out during 2013, setting the state record. Passenger levels for 2013 were up 2 percent compared to 2012.
Summer service from New York and Houston will ensure an increase to past years’ numbers. Businesses, individuals and the entire state are sure to reap benefits.
Bucks T4 lodge and restaurant, located on Highway 191 in Big Sky, counts on tourism into Yellowstone National Park during the summer season for a prominent portion of business, according to owner Chuck Schommer, who expressed enthusiasm regarding the increase in direct flight options.
“It is great for the entire community of Big Sky since the community relies heavily on tourism,” said Schommer.
– Edited by Hannah Ballantyne