Yellowstone Airport

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Yellowstone Airport
West Yellowstone Airport back view.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner State of Montana
Serves West Yellowstone, Montana
Elevation AMSL 6,649 ft / 2,027 m
Coordinates 44°41′18″N 111°07′04″W / 44.68833°N 111.11778°W / 44.68833; -111.11778Coordinates: 44°41′18″N 111°07′04″W / 44.68833°N 111.11778°W / 44.68833; -111.11778
WYS is located in Montana
WYS is located in the US
Location of airport in Montana / United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1/19 8,400 2,560 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 11,105

Yellowstone Airport (IATA: WYSICAO: KWYSFAA 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,[2] 4,331 enplanements in 2009, and 4,451 in 2010.[3] 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).[4]

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 International).

Historical airline service[edit]

Two airlines operated mainline jet aircraft into the airport, 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.[5] Western was subsequently acquired by Delta Air Lines which then turned the former Western service into the airport over to regional airline affiliate Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines. 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.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Waiting area
Rental car booths and check-in counters

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 01/19 with an asphalt surface measuring 8,400 by 150 feet (2,560 x 46 m).

West Yellowstone Interagency Fire Center[edit]

The federal West Yellowstone Interagency Fire Center[6] 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.

The West Yellowstone jumpers and the air 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 as well as Yellowstone National Park and Teton National Park, they can be dispatched anywhere in the country to respond to wildfires on federal lands.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The airport is served on a seasonal basis by SkyWest Airlines operating as Delta Connection, with Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet aircraft flying nonstop to and from the Delta hub located at Salt Lake City Airport (SLC). After serving the airport for many years with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops, SkyWest upgraded its seasonal Delta Connection service into West Yellowstone with Canadair regional jets on June 1, 2015 thus marking the first time WYS has had jet service in nearly 30 years, according to the airline.[7]

Airlines Destinations
Delta Connection Seasonal: Salt Lake City


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic destinations from WYS
(Dec 2015 - Nov 2016)[8]
Rank Airport Passengers Airline
1 Salt Lake City, Utah 9,000 Delta Connection


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for WYS (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. 
  5. ^, Sept. 6, 1973 Western Airlines system timetable, West Yellowstone flight schedules
  6. ^
  7. ^, Press Releases, Jet Service Arrives in West Yellowstone. June 1, 2015.
  8. ^ "West Yellowstone, MT: Yellowstone (WYS)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. October 1, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 

Other sources[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]