Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport

A Delta flight taxis before take off on Thursday at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will offer daily Delta Air Lines flights direct to Seattle beginning in January 2020, a move the airport director said will help drive down ticket prices, at least temporarily.

“We are now a large enough market that we’re seeing airlines competing against each other within the market, rather than just being the only airline between Bozeman” and another destination, said airport director Brian Sprenger. He said Delta’s new offerings will be two daily flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and Alaska Airlines is bumping up its Seattle nonstop service to five times a day most days.

Sprenger said the competition has already made flights less expensive: Travelers buying tickets to Seattle after the new year may be able to get them for as low as $64 each way.

“Now we have a choice, and when you have a choice, you often see fares start to moderate,” he said. “And that’s a good thing for the consumer.”

The announcement comes during a period of growth for the airport. In August, American Airlines added a nonstop flight from Bozeman to Philadelphia once a week year-round, in addition to weekly flights to New York and daily flights to Los Angeles for the summer 2020 season.

The upcoming winter season will see daily flights on American Airlines to Chicago O’Hare, a fifth Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle and weekly Delta flights to Detroit.

Sprenger said the airport’s top markets are Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles and New York. While prices to Seattle will probably drop temporarily, it will likely stabilize as airlines learn more about the needs of the local market.

“As they determine the market size and such, we’ll probably see a rationalization in both service and the fares. But initially ... we’re going to see really good fares to the Seattle area, at least in January,” Sprenger said.

Delta Airlines did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2603. Follow her on Twitter @mel_loveridge.

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