Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport

Travelers walk past the baggage claim the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport on Jan. 12, 2020.

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The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport announced Tuesday a new daily summer nonstop flight to Phoenix, Arizona, the fourth nonstop flight announced so far in 2021.

The flight will be the seventh nonstop destination operated by American Airlines out of Bozeman and one of a slew of direct flights the airport now offers.

“What we’re excited about is (Phoenix) is another American Airlines hub that we’ll have access to, and that just reinforces their commitment to southwest Montana,” said Brian Sprenger, airport director.

The flights are scheduled to run daily to and from Phoenix beginning on June 3 and operating through Aug. 16 of this year.

Sprenger said that a year ago, the airport’s top destinations for direct flights were San Diego, Phoenix and Charlotte. There now are direct flights to all those target destinations, with direct flights operated by Allegiant to San Diego announced alongside direct flights to Oakland and Austin last week.

“The things that it does for American Airlines passengers is it gives them more breadth of service,” Sprenger said. “Right now, their service to the eastern part of the country is pretty extensive, but to the south and southwest portion of the country, it’s a little bit more limited. So this helps establish them in that region as well.”

The additional flights also mean that airlines can route passengers through different airports if weather or other factors delay flights, like the recent Texas snowstorm has with flights to Dallas and Houston.

“That’s one of the advantages to announcements like today’s,” Sprenger said.

The airport now has so many direct flights to so many destinations in some capacity, weather seasonal or year-round, that Sprenger said new destination announcements will likely slow down a bit.

“It’s going to get a little bit more difficult for us to find additional target markets, just because the number of people going to those markets starts to drop off substantially,” he said. “Not to say that we don’t continue to look, it just becomes a lot more challenging.”

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

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