Direct flights from La Guardia to Glacier Park "International" starting in 2020

What will we see on the police blotter next year? Will Highlander and fam go to NYC and visit times square? Will New Yorkers come to Montana and get eaten by bears?

American Airlines will operate a direct flight from Glacier Park International Airport to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport starting next June, the airline announced Thursday.

Direct flights to La Guardia will be available on Saturdays beginning June 6, 2020. They will be on sale starting Sept. 1, 2019.

“The GPIA team is excited to welcome this new service next summer,” Airport Director Rob Ratkowski said in a press release. “We appreciate these expanded opportunities to make a great first and last impression on new visitors to the Flathead Valley.”

American also is expanding seasonal flights to Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago with larger aircraft. The airline is switching from 76-seat planes to 160-seat planes “based on the success of this year’s new service” to Glacier Park International, according to the release. This upgrade will increase passenger capacity on these routes by 50%.

Vasu Raja, vice president of network and schedule planning for American Airlines, said, “national parks are a huge attraction for many families. As soon as school’s out next year, our customers will have more than 145 weekly flights to Montana to choose from.”

Service into GPIA continues to increase as traffic into the airport has risen significantly in recent years. The airport reports a 33% increase in passenger volumes since 2014. In July, the airport announced a $1 million expansion project set for fall 2020 that will add 40,000 square feet to the terminal.

Ratkowski stated, “Demand is clear for more flights and more seats. It’s our responsibility to meet the demands and we’re working towards an improved passenger terminal every day.”

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at bserbin@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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