Airports of Montana: Billings Logan International Airport 

Airports of Montana: Billings Logan International Airport 
redlegsfan21 from Vandalia, OH, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Billings Logan International Airport, Montana‘s crown jewel in the realm of air travel, boasts a rich history dating back to the early 1900s.  

Its journey began in the early days of aviation, a testament to human ingenuity and the ever-evolving transportation landscape. 

1913: “First Flight” 

The story takes flight in 1913 with Dr. Frank Bell, a local dentist with a pioneering spirit. His home-built Curtiss 0-X-5, a marvel of early aviation, completed the first recorded flight in Billings.  

It was a testament to the burgeoning interest in air travel.

This local feat, captured in a painting by J.K. Ralston titled “First Flight,” planted the seeds for a dedicated landing strip. 

Fast forward to 1927, recognizing the potential of air travel, the Billings City Council allocated $5,000 to establish a proper airport.  

The chosen location: atop the Rimrocks, overlooking the Yellowstone Valley and offering stunning panoramic views.  

Construction, a true testament to human perseverance, relied on horse-drawn equipment to build the initial 1,820-foot unpaved runway and a small administrative building.  

On May 29, 1928, the Billings Municipal Airport officially opened its doors, ready to embrace the future of flight. 

First Manager: Dick Logan

A pivotal figure emerged in these early years – Dick Logan.

Appointed as the airport’s first manager, he served with dedication until 1957.  

His tireless efforts in shaping the airport’s growth and development earned him a lasting tribute.

Upon his passing, the airport was renamed Billings Logan Field, a fitting recognition of his legacy. 

Airports of Montana: Billings Logan International Airport 
United Airlines Airbus A320 at Billings: redlegsfan21 from Vandalia, OH, United States

The 1930s witnessed significant advancements.

The first federal grant of $47,000 in 1933 bolstered infrastructure improvements.  

Scheduled passenger service took flight in 1933 with Northwest Airlines, marking a new era of connectivity for Billings.  

The installation of the first telephone in 1929 further emphasized the growing importance of communication and coordination in air travel operations. 

World War 2 Expansion

World War II, a defining moment in global history, also impacted Billings Logan Field.

The construction of a control tower in 1942 underscored the increased air traffic.

It also gave birth to the need for enhanced safety measures,.

The post-war era ushered in a period of rapid expansion. 

A milestone arrived in 1955 with the construction of the present-day core of the terminal building and the ILS Runway 10/28.  

The Instrument Landing System was a significant upgrade, facilitating landings and takeoffs in broader weather conditions.  

The year 1958 marked another significant achievement:

The occupancy of the new terminal building, offering improved passenger amenities and a more efficient layout. 

The Jet Age

The 1960s witnessed a technological leap.

The arrival of the first air carrier jet aircraft, a Northwest Orient Airlines DC-8, in 1960 heralded the jet age.

To accommodate this change, a new FAA control tower was constructed the same year. 

The airport’s evolution continued throughout the following decades.

In 1965, an Air Force Dispersal Base was built, signifying the airport’s strategic importance.  

1971 saw the renaming of the airport to Billings Logan International Airport, reflecting its growing stature and international reach. 

Expansion continued throughout the 1970s.

The terminal facility underwent a major renovation in 1972, and 1974 marked the introduction of wide-body DC-10 service, catering to the increasing demand for passenger capacity. 


Today, Billings Logan International Airport stands tall within Montana, a vital transportation hub connecting the region to various domestic and international destinations.  

It serves as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, a major tourist attraction, and plays a crucial role in the economic development of Billings and the surrounding areas. 

As Billings Logan International Airport looks towards the future, its commitment to providing a safe, efficient, and comfortable travel experience remains paramount.  

Continuous upgrades and improvements ensure it remains a vital link, connecting Montana to the world and fostering commerce, tourism, and personal connections. 

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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