Montana Airline Rendezvous aims to secure new Helena flights

Nolan Lister

The Helena Regional Airport Authority concluded its two-day Montana Airline Rendezvous that brought representatives of six airlines to the local airport in an effort to secure new flights.

The authority has raised more than $200,000 in financial and in-kind donations in support of its effort to recruit new air service, including a recent $20,000 pledge from Lewis and Clark County.

In a report on its air service development incentive program given to the Helena City Commission Tuesday evening, the authority said it is actively courting American Airlines in hopes of securing a direct flight to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with its more than 230 daily connections for Helena travelers.

It plans to use the money raised to offer revenue guarantees to American Airlines, something airport funds cannot legally be spent on.

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The airport will also utilize a portion of its more than $1 million U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Grant awarded in 2021 to waive up to $360,000 in airport fees for the airline company over two years.

Of the 78 applicants for those grant dollars last cycle, only 22 were chosen.

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