North Dakota airports posted an increase of almost 12,000 passengers for the month March, showing promising trends as Spring travel in the state begins to take off.
March marks one year since COVID-19 began to severely impact air travel; one year later, North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports reported a total of 72,504 passenger boardings for the month. In March 2020, there were 60,821, while in March 2019 there were 107,029.
The latest report from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission states that the growth in passenger demand, as well as optimism surrounding the recovering travel industry has prompted the airlines to revive hiring plans as they continue to slowly add back flights and seat capacity to certain communities.
“Optimism is building for the travel industry’s recovery as airport parking lots are noticeably filling with vehicles and activity levels and passenger counts continue to trend in a positive direction,” said Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.
In North Dakota, the only non-stop destination route that was lost during the pandemic occurred at Williston Basin International Airport, when Delta Airlines suspended their regular Williston to Minneapolis flights in 2020. A recent partnership between the City of Williston and SkyWest will be bringing Delta service back to XWA beginning in June.
Boardings in Williston have also been on the rise according to Airport Director Anthony Dudas, with the airport seeing record numbers going into the spring.
“Commercial airplanes were 87 percent full at XWA, which is the highest load factor we’ve seen in the past 10 years for the month of March,” Dudas told the Williston Herald. “While our passenger numbers are still down 45 percent compared to 2020, there is little room for growth without additional seats provided by our air carrier partners. With Delta’s return in June, I anticipate these additional seats available will provide continued growth in passengers flying to and from the Williston region.”
View the full report at https://aero.nd.gov/.