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|
Great Falls International Airport (IATA: GTF, ICAO: KGTF, FAA LID: GTF) is a public and military use airport located within city limits, three nautical miles (6 km) southwest of central Great Falls in Cascade County, Montana, United States. GTF serves the Great Falls area, as well as other communities throughout central Montana.
It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport. As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 143,811 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 146,438 enplanements in 2009, and 155,204 in 2010.
Great Falls International Airport is also 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 located 10 miles (16 km) east of GTF, on the east side of Great Falls. With the transfer of its previously assigned KC-135 aircraft in the 1990s, Malmstrom's 12,000-foot (3,700 m) runway is currently closed to fixed-wing traffic and open only to military helicopters. As a result, Great Falls ANGB provides support for transient fixed-wing military aircraft visiting Malmstrom AFB.
Great Falls International Airport was initiated in November 1928 following a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Commerce. 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 the war fronts in Europe and the Pacific. While using the airport as an air base, the U.S. Army acquired an additional 740 acres (2.99 km2) of land and built many buildings and other facilities. The airport remained under government control until June 1948, at which point the newly established Department of Defense deeded the airport back to the City of Great Falls with the stipulation that the facility could revert to military control in the event of a national emergency. The airport was released from this clause in 1961.
In 1975, the terminal at Great Falls International Airport was replaced and all runways, aprons, and taxiways updated. With the use of Federal Aviation Administration matching funds, the Great Falls International Airport Authority performs annual operations, maintenance, and capital improvements.
In 2011, the airport recorded its highest number of 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 their Denver hub. Frontier is consistently among the lowest fare airlines in the U.S. as measure by ticket price per average seat mile flown. The Airport Authority hopes to address rising ticket prices and a seasonal shortage of available seats with the introduction of Frontier flights.
AvMax, a Calgary-based large jet maintenance and repair business, opened a large operation at GTF in 2006. They currently employee 150.
Facilities and aircraft
Great Falls International Airport covers an area of 2,113 acres (855 ha) at an elevation of 3,680 feet (1,122 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways with asphalt surfaces: 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).
For the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011, the airport had 41,591 aircraft operations, an average of 113 per day: 52% general aviation, 25% air taxi, 12% scheduled commercial, and 11% military. At that time there were 108 aircraft based at this airport: 61% single-engine, 17% military, 11.1% multi-engine, 8% helicopter, and 3% jet.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service at this airport:
|Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air||Helena, Seattle/Tacoma|
|Allegiant Air||Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa|
|Delta Connection operated by Compass Airlines||Minneapolis/St. Paul|
|Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines||Salt Lake City|
|Frontier Airlines||Seasonal: Denver|
|United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines||Denver|
|1||Denver, CO||40,000||Frontier, United|
|2||Salt Lake City, UT||39,000||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 2011-05-15.
- Great Falls International Airport, official site
- Montana Air National Guard
- Aerial image as of July 1995 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective November 14, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for GTF, effective November 14, 2013
- Resources for this airport: