Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport

Airplanes line the runway at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport recently.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is now the state's busiest.

For the first time ever, passenger totals for the calendar year at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will surpass those at Billings Logan International Airport.

According to Scott Humphrey, deputy airport director, passenger totals at the Bozeman airport surpassed Billings about six months ago “and kept going.”

“This is the first calendar year we will surpass Billings,” Humphrey said.

As of November, the number of passengers flying into and out of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport totaled 812,093. The number of passengers flying into and out of the Billings Logan International Airport through November totaled 705,492.

Of the 812,093 passengers flying into and out of the Bozeman airport so far in 2013, more than half were departing from Bozeman – 407,915 passengers – with 404,178 passengers arriving in Bozeman. The Billings airport total included 353,215 departing passengers and 352,277 arriving.

The month with the highest volume of passengers flying into and out of Bozeman was July, with 115,208, followed closely by August with 113,639 passengers. Totals for December have not yet been compiled.

Humphrey attributes the increase in Bozeman passenger numbers to the addition of a direct flight to New York this year, as well as an additional Delta flight to Los Angeles on Saturdays. Humphrey said a daily direct flight to Atlanta was also added for the holiday season.

While Bozeman added services, Humphrey said Billings lost Frontier Airlines last year, which has negatively impacted their passenger totals.

With the start to 2014 just a week away, Humphrey said he expects the rise in numbers to continue.

“We've been running on average, a 5 percent increase each year,” he said. “If nothing happens in the economy, we are looking at 2014 being another record year for us.”

Tiffany Jerry can be reached at tjerry@dailychronicle.com or 582-2624.