|IATA: WYS – ICAO: KWYS – FAA LID: WYS|
|Owner||State of Montana|
|Serves||West Yellowstone, Montana|
|Elevation AMSL||6,649 ft / 2,027 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Yellowstone Airport (IATA: WYS, ICAO: KWYS, FAA LID: WYS) is a state-owned public-use airport located one nautical mile (2 km) north of the central business district of West Yellowstone, a town in Gallatin County, Montana, United States. Although only open from June through September, commercial passenger service is available during those months. Scheduled airline service is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.
As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 4,186 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 4,331 enplanements in 2009, and 4,451 in 2010. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a non-primary commercial service airport (between 2,500 and 10,000 enplanements per year).
The town of West Yellowstone is located at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The airport should not be confused with Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming or Yellowstone International Airport between Belgrade & Bozeman, Montana, which are 104 miles (167 km) & 88 miles (144 km), respectively, from this airport and about 53 miles (85 km) from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park (Yellowstone Regional) & about 88 miles (142 km) from the North Entrance or West Entrance (Yellowstone Int'l).
Facilities and aircraft
Yellowstone Airport covers an area of 735 acres (297 ha) at an elevation of 6,649 feet (2,027 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 1/19 with an asphalt surface measuring 8,400 by 150 feet (2,560 x 46 m). For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2010, the airport had 11,105 aircraft operations, an average of 30 per day: 95% general aviation, 5% air taxi, and <1% military.
Historical airline service
Two airlines actually operated mainline jet aircraft into the airport in the past, although all service was seasonal in nature and was not operated during the winter months. In the 1960s and 1970s, Western Airlines served the airport on a seasonal basis with Lockheed L-188 Electra propjets with the airline then replacing this turboprop service with Boeing 737-200 jet flights. During the summer of 1973, Western was operating four 737 flights a day into the airport with nonstop jet service to Butte, MT, Great Falls, MT, Idaho Falls, ID and Salt Lake City as well as flying direct, no change of plane jet service to Las Vegas, Ontario, CA, San Diego and San Francisco. Western was subsequently acquired by Delta Air Lines. The original Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) served the airport as well with direct Boeing 737-200 jetliner service to Denver which was also operated on a seasonal basis. Prior to operating jet flights, Frontier served the airport with Convair 580 turboprop aircraft.
Current seasonal air service
The airport is served on a seasonal basis by SkyWest Airlines operating as the Delta Connection with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia twin turboprop aircraft flying nonstop to and from the Delta hub located at Salt Lake City Airport (SLC).
West Yellowstone Interagency Fire Center
The federal West Yellowstone Interagency Fire Center oversees aerial fire fighting operations and is located two miles north of the Yellowstone National Park Gateway community of West Yellowstone, MT, 90 miles south of Bozeman, MT and 100 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The base was established in 1951 at the old airport just west of town and then moved to its present location in 1965. It is jointly operated by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the National Park Service (NPS). USFS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture while NPS is an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
During the summer the base is home to 21 smokejumpers, pilots for the jump plane and fire fighting air tanker, an office manager and an air tanker base manager. The base also supports visiting jumpers, tankers and other aerial fire fighting resources during times of high fire activity. The "jump ship" aircraft is a Dornier 228 twin turboprop aircraft configured for smokejumper operations while the air tanker aircraft is a converted Lockheed P-3 Orion four engine turboprop formerly operated by the U.S. Navy as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. The Orion is the military version of the Lockheed L-188 Electra propjet airliner and can carry up to 3,000 gallons of fire fighting retardant.
West Yellowstone jumpers and tanker are considered national resources. While attached to the Gallatin National Forest with a primary response area of the Gallatin, Shoshone, Beaverhead/Deerlodge, Targhee, Bridger/Teton and Custer National Forests and Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, they can be dispatched anywhere in the country to respond to wildfire.
Airlines and destinations
The following airline offers scheduled passenger service:
|Delta Connection||Seasonal: Salt Lake City|
- FAA Airport Master Record for WYS ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
- "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.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- http://www.departedflights.com, Sept. 6, 1973 Western Airlines system timetable, West Yellowstone flight schedules
- Essential Air Service documents (Docket DOT-OST-2003-14626) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- Order 2006-3-29: selecting SkyWest Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection to provide essential air service (EAS) with 30-passenger Embraer Brasília aircraft at West Yellowstone, Montana, for the 2006 and 2007 summer seasons. The subsidy rate will be set at $247,122 per season.
- Order 2008-1-4: selecting SkyWest Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection to provide essential air service (EAS) with 30-passenger Embraer Brasília aircraft at West Yellowstone, Montana, for the 2008 and 2009 summer seasons. The subsidy rate will be set at $431,996 per season.
- Order 2010-3-30: selecting SkyWest Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection to continue to provide essential air service (EAS) at West Yellowstone, Montana, at an annual subsidy rate of $427,757, for the next two summer seasons from June 1 through September 30, 2010 and 2011.
- Order 2012-4-9: selecting SkyWest Airlines to continue to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at West Yellowstone, Montana, at an annual subsidy rate of $389,412, for the next summer season from June 1 through September 30, 2012.
- Yellowstone Airport, official site
- Yellowstone Aviation, the fixed base operator
- Aerial image as of June 1994 from USGS The National Map
- FAA Terminal Procedures for WYS, effective October 16, 2014
- Resources for this airport: