American Airlines announced they will offer a daily direct flight between Billings & Dallas/Fort Worth starting June 2, 2017 – achieving a primary goal of Billings businesses and economic support groups. The three hour flight, aimed at serving business travel will improve travel from Billings to points south – including South and Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously flights had to connect through Denver or Salt Lake City.
Getting American Airlines to commit to the community culminates a long campaign by various groups in Billings striving to be competitive with other Montana communities in the level of air passenger service. It was ultimately achieved by assembling $1.35 million in grants and contributions, from local organizations and a federal grant which will guarantee the success of the service.
A specially formed Billings Chamber’s Air Service Committee raised the funding and negotiated with American Airlines. The Billings Chamber was joined in its campaign by the Billings Logan International Airport and Billings Tourism Business Improvement District/Visit Billings, which made a $300,000 pledge to the $600,000 commitment from local businesses. The balance comes from a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Communities Air Service Development Program. Previous discussions from officials said that the funding will only be applicable if the airlines fails to have enough passengers to make it profitable.
The flight will leave Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at 10:40 a.m. (CST) and arrive in Billings at 12:40 p.m. (MST). It will leave Billings at 1:15 p.m. and arrive in Texas at 5:25 p.m., (MST)
The Billings Chamber thanked the community for its support, “This announcement is the result of a major community effort lead by the Billings Chamber’s Air Service Committee, the motivated staff at Billings Logan International Airport and a leading investment from the Billings Tourism Business Improvement District/Visit Billings. Valuable partnerships with and investments by our members helped to make this happen. Thank you.
“Tourism, business, economic development, and every aspect of our community will be positively impacted by this addition of service.”