A Transportation Security Administration employee has tested positive for COVID 19. Missoula County International Airport Director Chris Jensen confirmed that information on Thursday.

“We’re aware of that,” said Jensen. “Obviously, that’s a TSA issue, but our staff has been acting as if the virus was in the building. We’re making sure we’re practicing all of our safe behaviors. Really, this doesn’t change anything for us and we’re continuing to practice those safe behaviors with the assumption that the virus was, is or will be in the building.”

Jensen said the COVID 19 pandemic has been catastrophic for the travel industry and especially air travel around the world.

“The fact that there are so few passengers has caused us to now switch our activities to try to figure out how we’ll get through this phase of the lack of activity and the budget implications related to that,” he said. “Obviously, we have a large construction project going on and we have to be able to pay for that and the shutting off of our revenues has caused a whole new jigsaw puzzle for us to try to put together.”

Jensen said the drastic drop in airline travelers has taken a huge toll on the airport and the overall economy.

“Sadly, it’s in the neighborhood of 90 percent at this point,” he said. “We’re averaging about 100 passengers or so a day. Some days are a little above and some days are a little below, but it’s down from this time of year where we’re typically running from 1,200 to 1,500 passengers a day.”

The Missoula County Airport is in the first phase of a $60 million building project.

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