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Glacier Park International Airport announces United Airlines

February 27, 2017View for printing

KALISPELL, Mont. (Feb. 27, 2017) ? Plans for increased air service at the Glacier Park International Airport are heating up after record-breaking traveler counts in 2016. Glacier Park International Airport announced today that United Airlines is increasing service this summer for three major markets: San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver.

United Airlines will offer daily flights to San Francisco, starting July 1, 2017 and continuing through September 5, 2017. Seasonal flights to San Francisco are currently available once weekly on Saturdays through March 25th.

Additionally, United Airlines is rolling out larger Airbus 319 aircraft on existing direct flights to Chicago and Denver this summer. It is welcome news to travelers competing for seats in a tight market. With 128 seats, the Airbus brings an impressive 82% capacity increase over the regional jets currently used by United Airlines to service Chicago, and a 17% bump in available seats to Denver. Travelers to these two markets will benefit from the increased capacity between July 1, 2017 and September 5, 2017.

According to Robert Ratkowski, Glacier Park International Airport?s director, the decision to expand service is strongly tied to the tourism boom that the Flathead Valley, and specifically Glacier National Park, has experienced in recent years. The increased capacity comes at a time when more people are visiting Montana than ever before.

A University of Montana research institute found that more than 12 million tourists visited the state last year, spending nearly $3.5 billion and supporting nearly 53,000 jobs. As a result, Glacier Park International Airport experienced a surge of its own; the airport saw nearly a half-million travelers using the airport in 2016, surpassing the previous record year, 2015, by almost 5 percent.

Such strong demand from the tourism industry did not go unnoticed. United Airlines has had its eye on the Flathead Valley for quite some time, Ratkowski says.

?United has been increasing capacity in our market since last summer,? he says. ?They have seen double-digit passenger growth for the last five months, including almost 40 percent growth in September 2016 compared to September 2015,? Ratkowski continues.

This vote of confidence leaves Ratkowski optimistic about the airport?s future. ?We appreciate that United is investing in our market,? he says. ?They are increasing competition and the potential benefits for our community are significant.?

United and Glacier Park International Airport are not the only ones who will reap the benefits of the expansion; the local community will as well.

?More seats means that local travelers will have greater availability to get out,? Ratkowski says. ?Flights are usually booked solid for weeks in the summer, so this makes it easier for locals to travel for business or pleasure.?

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ABOUT GLACIER PARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Airline service at Glacier Park International Airport is provided by Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Allegiant Air. Cities with year-round service include Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Additional cities with seasonal service include Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Portland.

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