Airlines cancel flights and routes, leaving Missoula airport with challenging future

Commercial air service into Missoula International Airport has fallen to a trickle over the past month, and airport officials are bracing for a challenging future as airlines respond to the economic headwinds.

Fewer than 125,000 passengers are passing through airport security nationally on a daily basis, leaving commercial air travel just 5% of what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Missoula isn’t any different.

“We’re mirroring it right now,” said Brian Ellestad, deputy director of the Missoula airport. “The airlines are responding to the lack of demand. On all routes, for the month of April, we’re pretty much down 70% on seats.”