Summit Aviation Celebrates New Complex Groundbreaking

Friday morning dawned clear and bright for the crowd eagerly gathered for the official groundbreaking ceremony for Summit Aviation’s new headquarters on the north side of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Although a bit muddy, the new site burst with the promise of things to come as the homegrown company continues its expansion.

Perhaps best known locally as the official flight training provider for Gallatin College MSU’s Aviation Program, the company’s national recognition comes from its outstanding private charter service. What started humbly with one man, a rented airplane and a back hangar office has grown into over 100 employees supporting an award-winning university flight program, world-class charter service operation, professional aircraft management and aircraft sales and acquisitions expertise.

Over the last two decades, careful planning and great leadership has allowed this company to maintain a steady growth rate, even as it outgrew its current building. “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” says President and Founder, Ben Walton. “We outgrew our current building several years ago and have had to spread different parts of our operation out into other buildings across the airfield. It’s going to be really great to get everyone back together under one roof again.”

Summit’s new complex will boast 14,500 sq. ft. for office space and a Departure Lounge for private customers. The office space will house the company’s award-winning flight school, aircraft sales personnel, charter department and aircraft management experts, as well as an FAA testing lab and Simulation lab for the flight school’s multiple simulators, while the Departure Lounge will provide a luxurious space for private charter and management customers to come in and go out of. An additional 37,225 sq. ft. of hangar space will encompass two hangars, one of which will house the robust Flight School fleet, while the other will serve the company’s Charter and Management fleet of jet aircraft when they are in base.

Joining Summit’s excited employees for the groundbreaking were some of the company’s aviation students, local community members, representatives from both Bozeman and Belgrade Chambers of Commerce and Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport President and CEO Brian Sprenger.

Completion of the flight school portion of the new complex is slated for January of 2024 and everyone is looking forward to the increased efficiency the new location will bring. “Being located on the north side of the field has a lot of advantages to the operation,” states Walton. “The shorter runway we use for those operations will be right outside our back door. It will be a lot more efficient, not just for us, but for overall airport traffic operations as well.”

With the remainder of the new building set for completion in mid-2024, the complex will also provide more space for continued community involvement. The company’s annual Cancer Survivor Flight Camp, held in conjunction with Eagle Mount Bozeman every year since 2014, brings young adult cancer survivors to the flight school for a weeklong flying adventure every summer. In addition to the annual Flight Camp, Summit has been involved in hosting several events and tours for the Boy Scouts, STEM programs, local schools, and the Montana chapter of the 99’s, an aviation group for women pilots, to name a few. The much-anticipated move has this company looking forward to continuing its growth.