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Here's a look at some business news in western Montana:

American Airlines has announced a new direct flight from Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York. Additionally, seasonal American flights to Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago will switch to larger aircraft.

“The GPIA team is excited to welcome this new service next summer,” said Rob Ratkowski, director of the Glacier Park International Airport. “We appreciate these expanded opportunities to make a great first and last impression on new visitors to the Flathead Valley.”

Flights to LGA will be weekly on Saturday, with seasonal service set to begin on June 6, 2020. Seats will go on sale September 1, 2019, at www.aa.com.

“National parks are a huge attraction for many families,” said Vasu Raja, vice president of network and schedule planning for American Airlines. “As soon as school’s out next year, our customers will have more than 145 weekly flights to Montana to choose from."

Now served by planes with 76 seats, Dallas and Chicago service is increasing passenger capacity by nearly 50% by switching to 160-seat planes. American says they have expanded services based on the success of this year’s new service to Glacier National Park Airport.

“Demand is clear for more flights and more seats,” said Ratkowski. “It’s our responsibility to meet the demands and we’re working towards an improved passenger terminal every day.”

Glacier Park International has seen a 33% increase in passenger volumes since 2014. Looking ahead, Glacier Park International Airport is planning to add 40,000 square feet to the existing terminal, expanding the ticketing, baggage and waiting areas while also adding additional gates to better accommodate increased passenger volumes.

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The Last Best Outdoors Fest is taking place on Sept. 4 in downtown Missoula. At 3 p.m., Business for Montana’s Outdoors will host an event at The Wilma Theater to release a report on the economic impact of Montana’s Public Lands, followed by a panel discussion moderated by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). There will then be a craft beer garden, food trucks, live music and presentations at Caras Park. For more information visit www.lastbestoutdoorsfest.com.

The Missoula Metropolitan Statistical Area set a record for the value of goods exports of $81 million in 2018, an increase of 31% over 2017, according to Gilbert Kaplan, the under secretary of Commerce for International Trade. There are 392 urban areas in the U.S. that Kaplan’s office studies, and the average growth rate was 8.1%, meaning Missoula almost quadrupled the national rate of export goods value growth.

The top products exported from Missoula include manufactured transportation equipment and food manufacturing products such as farm machinery, supplies and seed.

“The $182 billion of goods exported from the metropolitan areas of the Pacific North region in 2018 indicate that local companies are realizing the benefits of global trade,” said U.S. Commercial Service Pacific North regional director David Fiscus in a statement. “Companies seeking to grow their business through exporting have the beneficial services and expertise of our local trade specialists to help with expanding into international markets.”

The University of Montana's Master of Public Health online program has been named No. 3 on the list of 25 Best Affordable Master’s in Public Health Online Degrees 2019 by a ranking website called Affordable Schools.

The rankings were based on average cost of attendance for in-state students and student-to-faculty ratios.

UM’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, and its graduate program is the first and only accredited MPH program in Montana. The online program, which consists of 42 total credits, recently was re-accredited for the maximum seven years through Dec. 31, 2024. Many of the program’s students are working professionals in Montana and the region, including employees from local/state/tribal health departments, nurses, physicians and other health care employees, according to a press release from UM.

“Many of the existing and emerging public health issues today such as climate change, mental health and substance misuse, wildfires, vaccinations, etc., are complex problems and take multi-disciplinary teams to address these issues,” said Tony Ward, chair and professor of the UM School of Public and Community Health Sciences. “We are proud that we can partner with other programs on campus to offer a topnotch yet affordable education and train public health professionals throughout our region to protect the health of our communities.”

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