Missoula International Airport

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Missoula International Airport

Johnson-Bell Field
Missoula Airport.gif
Terminal at Missoula Airport, May 2007.jpg
Missoula airport terminal building
Airport typePublic
OwnerMissoula County Airport Authority
ServesMissoula, Montana
Elevation AMSL3,206 ft / 977 m
Coordinates46°54′59″N 114°05′26″W / 46.91639°N 114.09056°W / 46.91639; -114.09056Coordinates: 46°54′59″N 114°05′26″W / 46.91639°N 114.09056°W / 46.91639; -114.09056
MSO is located in Montana
Location of airport in Montana / United States
MSO is located in the United States
MSO (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 9,501 2,896 Asphalt
8/26 4,612 1,406 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Aircraft operations35,944
Based aircraft161
Passengers (2019)907,777
Sources: Montana DOT [1]
A United Express CRJ200 arriving from San Francisco
Missoula airport terminal building

Missoula International Airport (IATA: MSO, ICAO: KMSO, FAA LID: MSO) is located in Missoula, in Missoula County, Montana. It is owned by the Missoula County Airport Authority.[2]

The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).[3] Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 288,071 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[4] 281,428 in 2009 and 289,875 in 2010.[5]

Several expansion projects are planned or underway. The recently constructed 101-foot control tower was completed in September 2012. An expansion of the terminal building, with a new security screening area, was completed in 2007. Despite its name, not a single international flight operates from the airport.


Missoula's first landing strip was laid out in 1923 south of the university. An additional strip near the Western Montana Fair Grounds on what is now Sentinel High School was sold to the county in 1927 at the request of the Missoula chapter of the National Aeronautic Association and would become Missoula's first true airport. The current airfield is named after that chapter's first president, Harry O. Bell along with mountain flying pioneer Bob Johnson of Johnson Flying Service (now Minuteman Aviation). The original Garden City Airport was renamed Hale Field in 1935 and would operate as such until closing forever in 1954. The airport was gradually replaced by the Missoula County Airport opened in 1941 with WPA funds and the cooperation of the US Forest Service who needed access to an airport. The new airport was renamed Johnson-Bell Field in 1968 and today serves over 750,000 passengers a year.[6]


The airport covers 2,700 acres (1,093 ha) at an elevation of 3,206 feet (977 m). It has two asphalt runways: 12/30 is 9,501 by 150 feet (2,896 x 46 m) and 8/26 is 4,612 by 75 feet (1,406 x 23 m).[2]

In the year ending January 1, 2018 the airport had 35,944 aircraft operations, average 98 per day: 63% general aviation, 16% air taxi, 20% airline, and 2% military. 161 aircraft were then based at the airport: 56% single-engine, 20% multi-engine, 18% jet, and 14% helicopter.[2]

The airport recently constructed a new 101-foot tall control tower, replacing one that opened in 1961.[7] The new control tower is one of the tallest control towers in the Pacific Northwest, and is the tallest in Montana. The price tag is an estimated $6.77 million.[7]

Due to increased patronage, it was determined in 2013 that further expansion of the current terminal was not financially prudent, with a new terminal instead being proposed. Construction started on the new terminal in 2018, with phase 1 expected to be complete and operational by the end of 2021. Upon the completion of phase 1, the current terminal will be demolished prior to beginning construction on phase 2, expected to be complete in 2022.[8]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Alaska Airlines Los Angeles, Portland (OR), San Diego (CA), San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma
Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Orange County,[9] Phoenix/Mesa
Seasonal: Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland (OR)[10]
American Airlines Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth (resumes June 3, 2021)[11]
American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth[12]
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Los Angeles (begins June 3, 2021)[13]
Delta Air Lines Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Atlanta (resumes May 29, 2021)
Delta Connection Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Los Angeles[14]
Frontier Airlines Seasonal: Denver
United Airlines Denver
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare
United Express Denver
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Los Angeles,[15] San Francisco

Neptune Aviation, an aerial firefighting company, is based from the airport.


Top destinations[edit]

Top ten busiest domestic routes out of MSO
(October 2019 - September 2020)
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Seattle, Washington 55,000 Alaska
2 Denver, Colorado 55,000 Frontier, United
3 Salt Lake City, Utah 52,000 Delta
4 Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota 30,000 Delta
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 24,000 American
6 Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona 15,000 Allegiant
7 Portland, Oregon 12,000 Alaska
8 Las Vegas, Nevada 10,000 Allegiant
9 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 4,000 American, United
10 Los Angeles, California 3,000 Allegiant, United

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.mdt.mt.gov/other/webdata/external/aero/boardings/boardings-2019.pdf
  2. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for MSO PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective June 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
  4. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
  5. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Airport Studies and Research". Montana.gov. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Briggeman, Kim (July 27, 2010). "Tower to rise: Missoula airport to get modern control center". The Missoulian.
  8. ^ Fryer, Brian. "Missoula's New Airport Will Improve Passenger Service in Western Montana". Engineering News-Record. BNP Media. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  9. ^ https://ir.allegiantair.com/news-releases/news-release-details/allegiant-announces-major-service-expansion-15-new-nonstop
  10. ^ https://www.allegiantair.com/
  11. ^ https://www.aa.com
  12. ^ "American Airlines plans additional domestic routes in S18". RoutesOnline. December 17, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  13. ^ https://www.americanairlines.co.uk/homePage.do?locale=en_GB
  14. ^ https://news.delta.com/summer-travel-your-leisure-delta-connects-customers-20-mountain-beach-and-vacation-destinations-new
  15. ^ "United continues domestic routes expansion in 2018". RoutesOnline. November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  16. ^ RITA | BTS | Transtats

External links[edit]