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The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport saw a large drop in passenger numbers in 2020 compared to the year prior, but it still handled a larger percentage of its normal traffic than many other airports did.

In 2020, 889,775 passengers traveled through the Bozeman airport, according to a Monday news release. That’s a 43.5% decrease compared to 2019 numbers. The TSA reported that, across 440 airports nationwide, there was a 60.7% drop in passenger numbers.

“While the impact on passenger traffic was significant at BZN, we are pleased to see traffic recovery has outpaced the nation as a whole and what this improvement means for the local economy,” said Brian Sprenger, airport director. “We continue to work with our airline partners in minimizing potential transmission and are looking forward to a successful vaccination program to return traffic to more traditional levels.”

The airport saw its most dramatic drop in passengers in March, when COVID-19 shutdowns first began.

At that time, the airport saw roughly an 80% drop in travelers, a sharp change in what was projected to be another record-breaking year.

Since then, numbers have increased slowly but steadily.

Despite the trials of 2020, the airport finished and opened its second concourse and added several direct flights to destinations around the nation.

Concourse B, the $26.5 million, 75,000 square foot addition, opened in November. That concourse added another restaurant and bar to the airport’s offerings, as well as more space for vendors and amenities like a nursing mother’s room and a pet relief area (complete with a faux fire hydrant).

The airport also added another airline in 2020, bringing the total number of airlines operating out of BZN to eight. Direct seasonal service was added for several locations, including Boston, New York and Minneapolis/St. Paul, and new daily flights were added to and from locations including Los Angeles and Nashville.

The airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower handled more than 104,000 flights during 2020, an all-time high and up 6.4% from 2019. About 72% of that was general aviation, according to the news release, with passenger, cargo and business aviation making up the remaining portion of flights.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.