Tester Secures $1 Million to Boost Air Travel to Billings Airport

Funding to bring more flights to Billings 

As a part of his continued efforts to lower costs for Montanans and expand access to reliable air service for rural communities, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured $1,000,000 in funding for Billings to attract new air carriers and secure additional routes to the west coast. 

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester secured these funds through the 2023 government funding bill. He was the only member of the Montana delegation to support the legislation.

“Rural airports provide essential services in Montana, and investing in the growth of these airports lowers flight costs, creates jobs, and keeps families connected across our state,” said Tester. “I was proud to work across the aisle to secure these critical investments to bring more flights to the Billings Airport and support travel and commerce in Montana for years to come.”

“For smaller communities like Billings, support from this grant allows us to be competitive with other cities across the country in providing quality air service,” said John Brewer, President/CEO of the Billings Chamber of Commerce.“When a city offers a variety of transportation options, it improves business efficiencies for those local companies doing business in those service areas. Direct service to Los Angeles and San Francisco will grow our visitor economy and provide residents with a better quality of life through better travel options for leisure, visiting family and work.”

The funding comes from the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP), a program that Tester has long supported. Tester introduced the bipartisan Small Community Air Service Development Grant Act to ensure this program can continue and fought to make sure this program was fully funded in the 2023 government funding bill. 

Tester has led the charge to upgrade Montana’s airport infrastructure. This past year he secured approximately $144 million for 69 Montana airports through his bipartisan infrastructure law, which will be awarded over five years through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Grants, and can be used to construct or repair runways and taxiways as well as make terminal and gate improvements.