American Airlines announced plans to add a direct flight to Philadelphia on Saturdays, making it Bozeman’s 18th nonstop destination.

Along with Philadelphia, the airline announced it will add flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Saturdays and Los Angeles daily, all for the summer 2020 season.

American will operate flights to Los Angeles using a 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft from June 4, 2020 through Sept. 8, 2020. New York and Philadelphia flights will operate with 160-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft on Saturdays from June 6, 2020 through Sept. 5, 2020, according to a news release sent out by the airport.

“In terms of growth, American Airlines is one of our fastest-growing airlines in our market,” airport director Brian Sprenger said.

Sprenger said that, overall, the airline will add about 30% more seats in summer 2020, compared to summer 2019, and connect passengers to more hubs with worldwide connections. He estimates the economic impact of the seat increase will be $11 million, as he said each passenger spends an average of $1,000 in the region.

Even though the airport has already offered direct flights to Los Angeles and New York, he said having more airlines offer those flights helps drive more traffic to and from Bozeman. Many passengers are loyal to particular airlines and pick vacations based on where those airlines fly, Sprenger said.

“So anytime we have nonstop service, it definitely develops that market as a market that comes to Montana,” he said.

Sprenger said the airport will also be adding flights for winter service this year. Alaska Airlines will add a fourth flight to Seattle, American Airlines will open up daily service to Chicago O’Hare, compared to just on Saturdays last year, and Delta will offer Saturday service to Detroit throughout the winter. Last winter, it only flew to Detroit in March.

Sometimes, local tourism marketing groups and other organizations will offer to foot the bill if an airline loses revenue in a trial period of offering a flight. Sprenger said none of that happened with the recently-added flights. It’s usually more common when airlines are first entering a market.

“I think there’s a misperception out there that all of our flights have risk mitigation from the community,” Sprenger said. “In this case, none require risk mitigation because airlines are very familiar with that market.”

Abby Lynes can be reached at or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

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