There are seven major airports in Montana, another half dozen small airports with some commercial and passenger service, as well as dozens of smaller airfields, or general aviation airports. For the most part, if you’re flying into Montana from out of state, you’re going to use one of seven major commercial airports. To be clear, none of the airports rival, say, LAX, DFW, or JFK as huge international hub, but there are a handful of airports from which you can expect the customary airport experience and general travel availability. We put these major Montana airports into one of three tiers:
Billings (BIL) and Bozeman (BZN): These two centrally-located municipal airports both see somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,000 enplanements a year. Bozeman is a major airport destination for tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park. Billings is the largest city in Montana and a major port for the eastern half of the state.
Missoula (MSO), Kalispell (GPI), and Great Falls (GTF): This triad of western Montana cities attracts an outsized portion of the tourist travel. From Glacier National Park to the numerous valleys and national forests surrounding Missoula to the underrated city of Great Falls, if the focus of your trip is the beauty of western Montana—rather than, say, Yellowstone—one of these city airports is likely your best bet for air travel.
Helena (HLN) and Butte (BTM): As the capitol city, Helena draws nearly 100,000 enplanements a year, while the smaller Butte airport manages only about 30,000. You have to find an odd itinerary or really be shooting for a small target area where you don’t want to drive very far. That’s because these two towns, as charming as they can be, are surrounding by the larger towns and airports listed above.