The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission announced that passenger levels are slowly beginning to recover throughout the state.
In a release, the Commission stated that North Dakota and rest of the country is just beginning the slow recovery from the historically low passenger numbers that have been seen in the previous two months. The lower passenger demand is directly attributed concerns related to the COVID-19 virus.
North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports during the month of June posted a total of 24,313 passengers boardings, amounting to 24 percent of the passengers that the airports experienced during the same month last year. This is higher than the 5 percent passenger volume experienced in April or the 14 percent that was seen in May.
In Williston, Airport Director Anthony Dudas said XWA is also saw rising numbers in June, and said he is hopeful for July’s numbers to be even better.
“The Williston Basin International Airport saw a modest increase in passengers in June compared to May with an approximate 5 percent increase.” Dudas told the Williston Herald. “In June our flights were about 42 percent full, however, flights in the first half of July are currently trending to be more than 60 percent full. This is quite a bit greater than the national average which is estimated to be around 30 to 35 percent. As our national and regional economy continue to safely recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, I anticipate we’ll see continued passenger growth and air service expansion.”
During the first half of calendar year 2020, North Dakota’s commercial service airports have provided a total of 309,217 passenger boardings. This is a decline of 270,864 passengers or a 47 percent decrease from this same time period in 2019.
“We have now had two consecutive months of passenger growth since the month of April; however, our passengers counts are still only at 24 percent of pre-crisis levels. Concerns regarding further spread of COVID-19 currently limits the upside of the airline industry and its ability to attract additional demand.” stated Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “Airports in North Dakota and throughout the country are working hard on a daily basis to implement recommended practices to help ensure a safe environment for those who either want or need to utilize air transportation.”