GREAT FALLS — Great Falls International Airport is working to get new - and less expensive - flights. Reporter Lindsey Stenger talked with airport director John Faulkner and also with Shane Etzwiler, the CEO of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
Faulkner said the airport will be submitting an application for a Small Community Air Service Development (SCASD) grant this week. During a recent meeting, commissioners voted to use some of the federal ARPA funding to help boost the application.
The city received more than $19 million in ARPA funding and $150,000 was granted to this initiative.
“In the last 10 years, over 40 small airports just like this one have either lost all airfare or have been cut significantly,“ said Faulkner.
The airport received this grant once before in 2015, and according to Faulkner, with the help of that grant, the airport boasted one of the lowest airfare averages in the state.
“Statistically if you look at our airfares from 2013 to around 2018, Great Falls really did have one of the lowest averages for airfare across the state,” said Faulkner.
And Faulkner hopes to get back to that if this grant is approved. However, they do need community support. The community of Great Falls was able to secure the application due to donors the last time that they applied for this grant.
Etzwiler explained that Great Falls is on the same track as far as donations: “We had a great outpouring of donations when we started the campaign, which was in 2019, but of course Covid hit and hit everybody in different ways, however since then, we have started the campaign back up we have been lucky enough to have amazing donors.”