Airports are connectivity centers. They connect people to places, support economic growth, and facilitate trade and commerce. They are the lifeblood of many cities, counties, and regions across the nation and the Montrose Regional Airport is no different. Last year, the airport earned the title of the largest airport on the 550 corridor of the Western Slope in terms of total passengers. The airport’s growth over the past ten years has solidified it as one of the main economic contributors of the area. Montrose Regional Airport’s flight service, expansion/ renovation project, and growth make the airport a catalyst for current and future economic development in the area.
Montrose Regional Airport is also the only airport on the Western Slope to offer service through Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines. These two brands have increased the airport’s availability of flights and the airport’s service area for brand-loyal consumers. The addition of Southwest Airlines has also significantly increased the frequency of daily Denver flights, which helps connectivity for local business travel.
The airport’s service to hub destinations provided by these airlines, in addition to United and American airline destinations, allows us to have the most comprehensive service to and from Western Colorado.
The airport is currently in the final stages of a $40 million expansion and renovation project that will double the size of the terminal and offer more opportunities for growth and improved services. Construction and expansion of Montrose Regional Airport is well under way, with portions of the remodel complete and serving passengers. The north addition that includes the concourse level and baggage claim will be open this summer. New passenger loading bridges are on track to be installed prior to next winter season, which will further enhance the customer experience and convenience for air travel to the region. The south addition that includes additional outbound baggage, airline kiosk areas, and queuing will also be finished this summer. With these spaces, the airport will provide an increased level of services that includes two new restaurant concession areas, increased number of charging stations for electronic devices and seating for 800 passengers.
The expansion also included the addition of 610 new paved parking spaces. Engineering and design is underway for an additional parking lot and signalized intersection to increase safety and enhance vehicle traffic flow to and from the airport. Additional construction updates are available at flymontrose.com/construction.
The expansion and renovation will greatly help alleviate some of the pressures of growth that the airport has experienced the past decade.
This year Montrose Regional Airport surpassed Grand Junction Airport and Durango- La Plata County Airport providing service to the most passengers in our region with 463,140 patrons utilizing our airport. The airport continues to assess needs for growth and follow the master plan that was completed with extensive public input. From 2015-2018, Montrose Regional Airport was the fastest growing airport for commercial airline passenger activity according to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics Annual Report.
Montrose Regional Airport is a catalyst for growth for not only Montrose County, but also the entire region. In the 2020 Colorado Aviation Economic Impact Study, the airport provided an estimated $327.26 million in business revenues to the region and affected over 2,800 jobs.
Additional health, safety, and mobility benefits are generated from airport activity. The future growth, development, and economic impact for Montrose Regional Airport makes it an exciting time to be living and working in Montrose County.
To learn more about the airport, please visit flymontrose. com.
Sue Hansen is a Montrose County commissioner and former board president for the county commission.