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Record low air travel in ND, thanks to coronavirus

April brought with it a record low number of people flying out of North Dakota airports, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We saw a 95 percent decrease in the numbers we would normally have, compared to last April," said North Dakota Aeronautics Director Kyle Wanner. "Only about 5000 passengers utilized the airports over the last month, which is a drastic change from normal."

That normal number is around 89,000.

Wanner said he’s been asked how this compares with what happened after 9-11.

"During September, 2001, we had 27,000 passengers get on aircraft in North Dakota," Wanner said. "Compare that with 5000 this month."

Wanner said there are less flights in and out of the state’s airports. But he said the state is starting to see passenger numbers increase, as things are starting to open back up.

"Obviously, we will see a gradual increase in passengers until the COVID-19 concerns are no longer prevalent," Wanner said. "At that time, we're hoping to get back to business as usual, and get the numbers back up to historical norms."

Wanner said airlines are also taking more precautions to keep the planes clean and sanitized. And he said a number are requiring passengers to wear masks.

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