The city of Billings owns Billings Logan International Airport (BIL). It is also the second biggest airport in Montana, first being Bozeman Airport with its number of gates and yearly flights. The airport sits on top of the Rims, which is a 500-foot cliff that overlooks the downtown. Billings Logan International covers 2,300 acres of land.
With more than 10 thousand flights per year, the airport is categorized as a primary commercial service airport. FAA reports say BIL had 387,368 boardings in the year 2013.
Billings Logan International Airport has direct flights to various airline centers such as Denver, Portland, Minneapolis, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Billings is also a small hub for Cape Air, which operates flights to Glendive, Sidney, Havre, Glasgow, and Wolf Point.
Billings Logan International Airport consists of three runways. The first runway (10L/28R) is of 10,518 feet long and 150 feet wide asphalt track. Secondary runway (07/25) 5,501 feet long, and its width is 75 feet. This runway is used as a crosswind runway. The third runway (10R/28L) is 3,801 feet long and 75 feet wide. This runway is used as a takeoff and landing site for light piston and single-engine aircraft. All of these runways are asphalt.
Currently, there are nine taxiways in use. Taxiway A runs laterally to 10L/28R and serves as the connection to the terminal area and exit point of Runway 10L. Taxiway B goes through 10L/28R and has access to the Northern Air Tanker Base. Three Taxiways (C, E, F) serve as exits for various sizes of aircraft. Taxiway D crosses 10L/28R and is used as a northern exit for Runway 25. Taxiways H and G provide all exits for Runway 7 and10R/28L. Taxiway J is the main taxiway to the cargo ramps from the terminal area.
There are two hotspots on the airfield. The first one is at the crossing of 10R/28L and 7/25. The second hotspot is located at the junction of Taxiway C and 10L/28R.
Billings Logan International Airport had more than 85 thousand operations, averaging at 241 aircraft operations per day.
The first flight in BIL was in a home-made Curtiss 0-X-5 plane in 1912. It was flown by the local dentist called Dr. Frank Bell.
The City of Billings spent $5,000 to acquire a 400 acre land on top of the Rims. The first runway and small administrative building were then built, and the airport officially opened on May 29, 1928.
Northwest Airlines introduced the first passenger service in 1933. The company was serving Billings as a stop on a route between Chicago and Seattle in 1935, using Lockheed Model 10 Electra twin-propeller planes. Northwest also operated, Douglas DC-4, Douglas DC-6B Douglas DC-3, and Douglas DC-7C During the 50s and early 60s.
In 1939, Inland Air Lines was conducting stops on a route between Great Falls and Denver. Western Airlines later bought Inland Air Lines and served BIL with Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar and Douglas DC-3 on the path between Great Falls and Denver. During the 50s and early 60s, Western Airlines flew Douglas DC-6B and Convair 240 into the airport.
Frontier Airlines was operating in Billings airport in 1950 with Douglas DC-3 plane on routes to Salt Lake City and Denver.
Frontier added Convair 340 on its flyings in the BIL airport and later served it with 737-200 Boeing jets.
Runway lights were improved in 1935, and a new air traffic control tower was raised in 2005. Significant expansions were made to the terminal in 1958, 1972, and 1992. The airport added electronic monitors in early 2006, which gave information on departures and arrivals.
In 1957, the airport was renamed to Billings Logan Field, after the airport manager Dick Logan tragically passed. In 1971 the airport was again renamed to Billings Logan International Airport.
By the year 1966, Northwest launched Boeing 727-100 flights, effectively bringing Jet Age to the airport. Northwest was conducting a direct jet service from BIL to O'Hare International, Great Falls, St. Paul, and Spokane as well as nonstop flights to Washington, DC. National Airport, Newark, Detroit, New York LaGuardia Airport, Cleveland, Seattle, Portland, and Milwaukee.
In 1966, Western Airlines was operating flights in BIL with Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops. By the early 70s, Western was running all of its trips into the airport with Boeing 737-200 jets.
Four airline companies were handling mainline jet service into the airport: Continental Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and Western Airlines. Northwest once again continued direct flight service to Chicago O'Hare International Airport in 1985 with Boeing 727-200. United began operating Boeing 737-200 nonstop flights to Denver.
Horizon Air was another airliner operating jet service in BIL in 1999 with Fokker F28 Fellowship twin jets to Seattle. The airline was flying Canadair CRJ-700 planes by 2003. Horizon Air continues to serve BIL airport on behalf of Alaska Airlines. Other companies conducting regional jet flights from the airport included America West Express and Frontier JetExpress with nonstop service to Denver.