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March airline passenger boardings surge

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North Dakota’s commercial airports saw a surge in demand during March.

"We saw about 72,000 passengers in March 2021," said North Dakota Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner. "That's about 22,000 more than in February."

Wanner said that’s the kind of trajectory he’d hoped to see as summer travel season approaches.

"People want to begin traveling again," Wanner said. "They want to see family, they want to take a vacation, and they obviously want to do that in a safe way as well."

Wanner said airlines are now easing some restrictions on planes. Delta has announced it would start seating passengers in middle seats again come June.

"They need a 70 to 80 percent load factor," Wanner said. "That means they need to start filling those middle seats."

Wanner said as airlines add back flights suspended because of the pandemic, it's a good thing for the communities and the airlines.

"The airlines can return again to profitability," Wanner said.

During the pandemic, Delta dropped its Williston to Minneapolis flight. But Wanner said Delta will start flying that route again in June.

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