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Airline boardings down 52 percent in 2020 from North Dakota airports, compared with 2019

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North Dakota’s eight commercial airports saw a 52 percent drop in boardings in 2020, compared with 2019.

The state's Aeronautics Commission said 572,093 people boarded commercial airplanes in 2020. That's a decrease of 619,476 passengers ffrom 2019.

The reason: COVID-19.

North Dakota Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner said it could have been worse.

"We saw a 95%  decrease in passenger numbers back in April," Wanner said. "That's the worst-case scenario."

Wanner said since that time, there has been a recovery.

"It's actually pretty impressive, given the fact we have a global pandemic going on," Wanner said.

Wanner said the trends are in the right direction.

"We are starting to see airlines adding back flights and seat capacity to some of our airports," Wanner said.

And Wanner also said he believes there is a pent-up demand for trips.

"Once restrictions are removed, people are going to want to travel," Wanner said. "They want to see family, go on vacation."

Wanner said there are some concerns about the future of business travel. But he thinks it will come back eventually.

"It's just going to take some time," Wanner said.

Wanner said all eight commercial service airports in North Dakota continue to provide reliable jet service to their communities.

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