When the Williston Basin International Airport opens on Oct. 10, one of the first flights to land will have a hometown connection in the form of Elliott Monson, a pilot and Williston native working for Delta Connection.
The airport is scheduled to begin operations on Thursday, Oct. 10, with the first flight coming from Denver on United Airlines some time in the morning. About an hour later, Monson will be landing the first Delta flight at XWA. Monson is captain of the first Delta Connection flight coming in to XWA.
Monson grew up in Williston with parents Janette and Greg and a number of siblings, graduating from Williston High School in 2006. From there, Monson was part of the flight training school offered at Williston State College through the University of North Dakota, and was part of the final class of the program. Monson flew his first solo flight from Williston, flying from Sloulin Field in the fall of 2006 as part of his flight training.
“I first soloed on the runway at Sloulin Field,” Monson told the Williston Herald, “So when I heard this new airport would be opening, I tried to adjust my schedule in order to fly the first Delta Connection flight into there on October 10. It’s the first Delta Connection flight into there, and it’s the first Delta Connection flight out of there, from my understanding.”
Monson has flown into Sloulin Field several times during his time as a pilot, and said that he knew firsthand that Williston was in need of a new airport.
“Out with the old, in with the new!” he said. “I’ve always told people that we need (a new airport), we had so many issues flying into the old one.”
“Williston will always be home,” he said. “I’m excited that my flight training started there and then fast forward to now, I’m operating commercial jets into there. I think it’s a unique experience, it’s definitely an exciting experience to be able to be part of it. I think it’s neat, being that I’m a hometown boy, to be able to operate one of the first flights into this new airport. I’m excited, I’ve heard great things about it.”
The Williston Basin International Airport had its official ribbon cutting on Friday, Oct. 4, featuring dignitaries from across the state, including Governor Doug Burgum and Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer. The $275 million facility is set to commence commercial operations on Thursday, Oct. 10.