Tester hails key funding for non-stop flight from Great Falls to Chicago

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester is celebrating new funding in the Electric City that will help secure a non-stop flight from Great Falls to Chicago.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $385,000 Small Community Air Service Development grant which is the first step in adding an additional flight from Great Falls to Chicago. The new flight, which airport officials hope to be operated by American or United Airlines, could increase the passenger capacity at Great Falls International Airport and provide travelers with fewer connections and faster travel times.

“Adding an additional flight in Great Falls will help get folks to where they need to be cheaper and faster,” Tester said. “This is big news for folks in Great Falls and the surrounding communities and I will work closely with the airlines to ensure this flight is available as soon as possible.”

This funding is a critical step for the Great Falls International Airport so they can negotiate a contract with the airlines to secure the non-stop flight to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

“The Great Falls Airport Authority is very excited to receive a Small Community Air Service Development Grant. These funds will be instrumental in helping us develop more east-bound connections during our busy tourism season. The timing is ideal as empty airline seats were a rare occurrence in Great Falls this summer and growth from Midwest and East Coast markets has been brisk for the past five years,” said John Faulkner Great Falls International Airport Director. “The Authority would like to thank all of our community partners including the Tourism Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce and all of our investors in the Low Cost Airline Initiative. We would also like to thank Senator Jon Tester who helped assure the airlines that Montana supports air service development.”

Small Community Air Service Development grants help connect rural communities to urban areas by guaranteeing revenue and providing financial assistance to the airline company that administers the flight.