Bert Mooney Airport – Butte, Silver Bow County, Southwest Montana

April 29, 2024

Bert Mooney Airport

Your adventure starts at 5,551 feet


Visiting the Northern Rocky Mountains has never been so easy.

From a supreme pinpoint location amidst the sprawling North American Rockies, Bert Mooney Airport (BTM) provides unparalleled and uncongested access to all destinations in the great Treasure State.

Established in 1864 as a mining camp and urban center in the early West, the City of Butte, Montana has progressed alongside the changing times, yet maintains a unique character and welcoming, neighborly charm.

After the railroads’ arrival and the discovery of gold, silver, and copper, the area became a migrant hotbed and earned the “Boomtown” designation. It was the site of the Copper King wars, the birth of the labor movement, and an ethnic melting pot. Electricity’s advent in the late 19th century propelled Butte’s economy further and in 1888, mining operations generated $23 million.

The municipality was the site of political events relating to its industrial roots and expansive workforce, and home to strong labor activism and Socialist movements in the early 20th century. Post-millennium economic forces in Butte have centered on technology, the health industry, and preserving historic buildings and cultural sites.

In 2002, Butte shined as one of only twelve American cities named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Sitting atop the Continental Divide at 8,510 ft. (2,594 kilometers), the 90-foot “Our Lady of the Rockies” statue overlooks 36,000 inhabitants, exemplifying their All-American status and can-do attitude.

Bert Mooney Airport not only perches on prime real estate but also provides a convenient access point in the region. Between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the airport represents a gateway to economic growth and tourism. It is a strategic point for travelers heading to high-end resorts, campgrounds, and a plethora of must-do, must-see attractions in the region.



Bert Mooney Airport holds a principal place in the area’s economic success with the most picturesque and sought-after destinations in the heart of Montana’s Rocky Mountain range.

The airport’s location at the crossroads of I-15 and I-90 offers breathtaking views and is a convenient midpoint between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. “This makes us an attractive option for visitors looking to explore these natural wonders and generates close to $40 million in annual revenue,” says Rick Ryan, Deputy Airport Director.

Butte, Montana is an endless and magical paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. This Eden is surrounded by a trail network meandering through breathtaking landscapes, offering a feast for the senses. The trails cater to all levels of fitness and adventure, making them a popular choice for hiking and biking.

No one can resist Georgetown Lake’s pristine aqua waters. Businesses like Outdoor Adventure Rentals provide equipment for water activities, including paddle boards, kayaks, pontoons, and rafts.

Camping under Butte’s clear skies is a wonderment like no other. The sound of the wind rustling through the trees, the smell of the fresh crisp mountain air, and the sight of the stars twinkling in the wide-open night sky create a truly memorable camping experience.

Bert Mooney Airport’s proximity to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks makes it a successful landing point for exploring these iconic natural treasures. Horseback riding is popular in Butte, with outfitters like Iron Wheel Guest Ranch and Jake’s Horses Inc. offering guided trail rides that allow you to live the Western heritage and cowboy lifestyle.

During the winter, the area transforms into a winter wonderland, offering activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Butte, Montana, is not just a city to visit; it is a city to experience, where the great outdoors is more than just a backdrop—it is a way of life.

The region’s appeal is partly due to high-end resorts like The Yellowstone Club in Big Sky and The Ranch at Rock Creek, and the Rock Creek Cattle Co, which attract affluent visitors who often travel by private jet. These resorts contribute to the tourism-driven demand for airport services.

BTM’s facilities further enhance the overall experience for travelers. Ryan states, “Free parking and expedited TSA security lines add to the convenience factor, making it a preferred choice.” Passengers delight in a comfortable and memorable experience with ample terminal seating, efficient baggage claim, and car rentals. ADA-compliant, the facility offers two gates, a full-service bar and restaurant.

FBO and the Lingering Pandemic

Epic Aviation Fueling Products works with the FBO to deliver Jet A and Avgas 100LL at competitive prices. The FAA maintenance is a Part 145 Repair Station and Avionics and the airport boasts 5 mechanics and avionic techs highlighting the airports commitment to further growth.

An Essential Air Service (EAS), the airport still grapples with lingering pandemic effects. Insurmountable obstacles from four years ago remain daunting issues for regional airports.

Pre-Covid, BTM welcomed 30,000 enplanements yearly, with current numbers slightly less.  Officials are working diligently with airlines to increase air service with more favorable arrival and departure times. After a 35-year relationship with Bert Mooney, the airline ensures two flights per day, through an Essential Air Service Contract.

The airport is recovering, with efforts underway to increase enplanements and return to pre-pandemic levels. Management is working with airlines to improve flight schedules and connectivity, which is crucial for boosting tourism and accommodating the needs of travelers seeking to explore the region.

Despite the challenges, Bert Mooney continues its first-class service to the region’s travelers, enterprises, and residents.


Forest Fire Response, Safety, and Firefighting Support

Through dedicated support of forest fire response efforts, Bert Mooney Airport not only provides essential air service and economic development but also ensures the community’s safety and well-being.

Beaverhead Deer-Lodge National Forest recognized BTM’s important Southwest Montana location and approached it for a Heli base relocation which would enhance wildland firefighting efforts. Ryan states, “They have several small helicopter bases at forest service offices but wanted an airport with an FBO.” Mooney, with fueling capabilities and ample space, was an ideal candidate for the Forest Service’s needs.

The collaboration was a natural fit and led to a Heli base that has become a central asset for firefighting in the region. The synergy between BTM and the U.S. Forest Service exemplifies how to approach and manage the challenges posed by forest fires.

During the summer, Ryan explains the airport plays a major role in ensuring resident safety as smoke becomes threatening. “Summers are smoke-filled from June until October.” The Heli base is pivotal in deploying helicopters for firefighting missions. This support is required for immediate fire suppression and broader concerns in areas affected by seasonal infernos.

Bert Mooney’s commitment is clear in its willingness to provide resources like hangar space for the Heli base and its crew. “In a busy summer, we may have 15 fire service helicopters based here, or we could have one or two,” states Ryan.

Long-term planning includes expanding the Heli base and leveraging the airport’s infrastructure to improve response times across the Beaverhead Deer Lodge Forest and vicinity. The central location allows emergency personnel to fly to critical spots in 40 minutes, making it an invaluable hub for wildland firefighting operations.

BTM’s significance extends beyond firefighting. The airport’s focus on enhancing facilities, expanding general aviation services, and steering economic growth underscores its influence on tourism and the broader economic landscape.

Future Priorities

Bert Mooney Airport contributes to the vicinity’s prosperity and has long-term plans for economic development projects, such as a strip mall. However, Ryan’s immediate focus is installing a new passenger boarding bridge. “That is our number one priority right now.”

Number two is hangar development, which will expand general services by attracting more leases and private jet traffic. Given the proximity to high-end resorts and the location among national parks, this is an attainable goal. Ryan adds, “Bert Mooney is working with the U.S. Forest Service and the USDA, looking to expand along the I-15 and I-90 corridors in the next five years, and we are central to that intersection.”

Bert Mooney Airport continues assisting the Forest Service by any means necessary to downgrade any danger to residents, tourists, and the pristine and irreplaceable wonder of Montana.

In Butte, the great outdoors is more than just a backdrop—it is a way of life.


Bert Mooney Airport

WHAT: The largest historical district in the U.S.

WHERE: Butte, Silver Bow County, Southwest Montana



Visit Southwest Montana –

Ghost Towns, Gem Mines and Cave Tours … The Rest is History

Visit Southwest Montana to explore vast mountain ranges and abundant waterways, and view wildlife in their natural habitat. Enjoy locally owned eateries and craft breweries complementing a lifestyle of rodeos, festivals, and living ghost towns. Wander through the 26-acre forest dedicated to the large-scale outdoor art exhibit at Blackfoot Pathways:  Sculpture in the Wild. Relive the past in the country’s largest National Historic District in Butte.

Explore the “gold rush” boom-and-bust days of the West in Southwest Montana’s ghost towns. Walk through the past in Bannack State Park, Garnet Ghost Town and in the towns of Virginia City and Nevada City, where you’ll enjoy living history with live reenactments, stagecoach rides, gold panning, and the theatrical performances of melodrama and vaudeville at the local opera house.

Looking for a more unearthly experience? Download our Haunted History map for a list of ghost towns and historic places with tales of lingering souls—and take a walk on the paranormal side.

Visit the small town of Philipsburg, known for its rich sapphire mines. Try your hand at prospecting for gemstones or find jewelry-quality sapphires at one of the local shops. Enjoy outdoor mining at Montana Gems’ seasonal water flume—kids love discovering precious gemstones and dinosaur teeth. Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Sweet Palace, an old-fashioned candy store, and savor award-winning Montana craft beer at Philipsburg Brewing Company.

Discover Lewis and Clark Caverns, an intricate network of caves nestled in Southwest Montana’s many mountain ranges along the Jefferson River. See formations of stalactites and stalagmites as you navigate through chambers showcasing geological wonders forged over millennia.

Enjoy a leisurely, narrated summertime boat tour on the Missouri River through the steep limestone cliffs of Gates of the Mountains—named by Meriwether Lewis as the expedition traveled through the area.

Explore the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, established in the 1880s, and the Old Montana Prison Complex which housed prisoners from 1871 to 1979. Soak up more history along the Continental Divide Trail, the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, or the Vigilante Trail.

With its blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and history, Southwest Montana promises unforgettable experiences for all who dig deeper into the treasures of this part of Big Sky Country.

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