Daines, Tester Announce Appointment of Two Montanans to National Aviation Commission

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today announced that two Montanans—Mike Tooley, Director of the Montana Department of Transportation and Brian Sprenger, Director of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport  —will be advising Congress on how to better enhance air transportation in small communities. 

“Air travel makes it easier to do business, travel across our great state and connects our communities,” Daines stated. “Montanans have a unique perspective on the importance of air travel and I look forward to Mike and Brian bringing the Montana ingenuity to a national stage.”

“In a state as sprawling as Montana, air travel connects folks, creates jobs, and helps smaller communities thrive,” Tester said. “That’s why it is so important to me that Montana has a seat at the table when it comes time to advising Congress on the unique needs of small town air travel. I’m pleased Mike and Brian were chosen and I look forward to hearing their recommendations.”                

Brian Sprenger, Airport Director, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport: “Small communities throughout the nation require access to the air transportation system to thrive and prosper.  Bozeman Yellowstone Int’l Airport has seen success in developing air service over the last decade and we are hopeful that sharing innovative ideas can be helpful in in replicating success in other small communities.”

Montana Department of Transportation Director Mike Tooley: “Air service is very important to Montana citizens, and to have representation from our great state is incredibly important to strengthening our travel economy. It’s an honor to have a voice on this Commission, and I’m grateful we have a chance to help shape transportation policy.”  

Sprenger and Tooley will be two of the 25 members who make up the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Working Group on Improving Air Service to Small Communities.  The group will advise Congress on issues related to small town air service, including issues like the pilot shortage that has plagued Montana’s essential air towns over the last few years.  

The working group was created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization that both Daines and Tester supported.

The intent of the working group is to:

(1) to identify obstacles to attracting and maintaining air transportation service to and from small communities; and

(2) to develop recommendations for maintaining and improving air transportation service to and from small communities.