Great Falls International Airport
|Great Falls International Airport
(former Great Falls Army Airfield)
|USGS 2006 orthophoto|
|IATA: GTF – ICAO: KGTF – FAA LID: GTF|
|Owner||Great Falls International Airport Authority|
|Serves||Great Falls, Montana|
|Elevation AMSL||3,680 ft / 1,122 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport. Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 143,811 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 146,438 in 2009 and 155,204 in 2010.
Great Falls International Airport is home to Great Falls Air National Guard Base and the Montana Air National Guard's 120th Fighter Wing (120 FW), the "Vigilantes." An Air National Guard unit operationally-gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC), the 120 FW transitioned from the F-16C Fighting Falcon to the F-15C Eagle in January 2009, which it employs in the air defense and air dominance missions.
Malmstrom Air Force Base, home of the 341st Missile Wing (341 MW) of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), is 10 miles (16 km) east of GTF, on the east side of Great Falls. With the transfer of its KC-135 aircraft in the 1990s, Malmstrom's 12,000-foot (3,700 m) runway is closed to fixed-wing traffic and open only to military helicopters, so Great Falls ANGB provides support for fixed-wing military aircraft visiting Malmstrom AFB.
Great Falls International Airport was initiated in November 1928. The airport was leased by the U.S. War Department during World War II and became a home for the 7th Ferrying Command of the U.S. Army Air Forces during the war. During the war years, more than 7,500 bombers and fighter aircraft passed through Great Falls on their way to Europe and the Pacific. The U.S. Army acquired an additional 740 acres (3.0 km2) and built many buildings and other facilities. The airport was under government control until June 1948 when the Department of Defense deeded it back to the City of Great Falls with the stipulation that the facility could revert to military control in a national emergency. The airport was released from this clause in 1961.
In 1975 the terminal was replaced and all runways, aprons, and taxiways updated. With Federal Aviation Administration matching funds, the Great Falls International Airport Authority performs annual operations, maintenance, and capital improvements.
Great Falls has had airline flights since the 1930s. For at least part of each year 1977–1981 it saw scheduled Northwest DC-10s EWR-DTW-ORD-BIL-GTF-GEG-SEA and back.
In 2011 the airport recorded the most boardings (172,415) in its history. GTF was the fifth-busiest of the state's 15 major airports in 2011, behind Billings (407,960 enplanements), Bozeman (397,822), Missoula (292,530), and Kalispell (179,034).
In early 2012 Frontier Airlines announced new flights to Great Falls from the Denver hub. Frontier is a low cost airline serving over fifty cities out of Denver. Frontier is among the lowest fare airlines in the U.S. measured by ticket price per average seat mile. The Airport Authority hopes to address rising ticket prices and a seasonal shortage of seats with the Frontier flights.
AvMax, a Calgary-based large jet maintenance and repair business, opened a large operation at GTF in 2006; they employ 150.
The airport covers 2,113 acres (855 ha) at an elevation of 3,680 feet (1,122 m). It has three asphalt runways: 3/21 is 12,000 by 150 feet (3,201 x 46 m); 16/34 is 5,722 by 150 feet (1,744 x 46 m); 7/25 is 4,294 by 75 feet (1,309 x 23 m).
In the year ending March 31, 2011 the airport had 41,591 aircraft operations, average 113 per day: 52% general aviation, 25% air taxi, 12% airline, and 11% military. 108 aircraft were then based at this airport: 61% single-engine, 17% military, 11.1% multi-engine, 8% helicopter, and 3% jet.
Airlines and destinations
Scheduled passenger service:
|Alaska Airlines||Helena, Seattle/Tacoma|
|Allegiant Air||Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa
Seasonal: Los Angeles
|Delta Connection||Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City|
|Frontier Airlines||Seasonal: Denver|
|1||Salt Lake City, UT||41,000||Delta|
|2||Denver, CO||40,000||Frontier, United|
|3||Minneapolis/St Paul, MN||30,000||Delta|
|4||Las Vegas, NV||27,000||Allegiant|
- FAA Airport Master Record for GTF ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
- "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
- AIR FORCE Magazine (ISSN 0730-6784), July 2009 (Vol. 92, No. 7), pp. 34–41
- Johnson, Peter. "Great Falls Airline Boardings Up." Great Falls Tribune. May 14, 2011.
- Airport Boardings Study. Aeronautics Division. Montana Department of Transportation. January 2011, p. 2-7. Accessed May 15, 2011.
- Great Falls International Airport, official site
- Montana Air National Guard
- Aerial image as of July 1995 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective September 18, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for GTF, effective September 18, 2014
- Resources for this airport: