ND airports see strong growth in January boardings, surpassing 2019 numbers for first time since pandemic

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 10:59 AM CST
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WILLISTON, N.D. (KUMV) - January was a good month for airline boardings at North Dakota’s commercial airports.

Statewide, there were about 91,000 passengers who flew out of the eight largest sites in the state which is a 24 percent increase compared to January 2022. For the first time since the pandemic, boardings were slightly higher compared to January 2019, a sign that the industry could reach a full recovery in airline passenger numbers.

“Air service demand throughout North Dakota is a significantly stronger than one year ago and we are excited to see that the numbers are beginning to track above 2019′s pre-pandemic passenger counts,” said Kyle Wanner, executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Airport Director at Williston Basin International, Anthony Dudas, said XWA saw a 34 percent increase compared to last January despite dealing with cancellations due to fog.

“That just shows you how strong our demand is for air service even with significant challenges with weather. We still saw some pretty great growth,” said Dudas.

Dudas added that with more flights coming and a planned nonstop route to Phoenix sometime this year, he feels boardings will continue to trend upwards.

While it’s an optimistic sign as a whole, there’s still a long way to go for other facilities. Only Fargo and Dickinson boardings were above 2019′s level. Williston and Jamestown are still down 27 percent, while Bismarck is down about 10 percent. Minot’s boardings were down about seven percent.