Local news- Press Release
Billings Montana - Billings Logan International Airport hosts ribbon cutting for new concourse 03 June 2022 ( news )
Billings , state Montana ( By Press Release office)
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Followed by numerous pandemic related delays , Billings Logan International Airport is just a few last steps away from completing phase one of airport renovations and opening the new Concourse A to passengers .
A ribbon cutting event and the first “inaugural flight” took off from the new concourse on Friday afternoon .
This moment was preceded by years of planning and a groundbreaking in September of 2019 .
“There’s a lot to go and we’re looking at the end of 2023 before this thing is all wrapped up . It’s been a very exciting project , ” said City of Billings Director of Aviation and Transit Kevin Ploehn .
During Friday afternoon’s ribbon cutting event , Ploehn reflected on the early years of the airport and improvements that have been made since then .
“This airport started in 1928 . The city council issued $5 , 000 to buy 400 acres and build the first runway . That was the start of it , ” Ploehn said .
He went on to share the first terminal building was built in 1958 .
“But there was no concourse or gateways . It was ‘go get your ticket , walk right out , climb up the stairs and get in the plane . ’ It worked real good until those planes got real big and had to climb up those stairs and stand in line during the winter , ” said Ploehn .
In 1970 , Billings saw its first concourses .
“The old A and B , so that people could actually get on a passenger loading bridge and go right into a comfortable airplane without having to be out in the environment , ” he said .
The last update to the airport before this current renovation happened in 1992 , when the front of the building extended to allow more room for the ticket and baggage claim area .
“Here we are in 2022 , 50 years after the old concourses were first opened up , we’re replacing them with this brand new , state of the art , very comfortable area , ” Ploehn said .
The new Concourse A features gates named after wildlife native to Montana , including bison , antelope , grizzly and mountain goat .
An early timeline of the project showed the concourse would be complete in April , but due to supply issues , the concourse will open this month , and the restaurant area will likely open near the end of the year .
To finalize the ribbon cutting ceremony , Ploehn invited attendees to grab a wood glider plane and “launch” the first inaugural flight from Concourse A .
Ploehn has been a big part of the airport project and looks forward to the progress that’s made before his retirement near the end of the year .
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