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Bismarck Airport looking at expansion plans

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The Bismarck airport could soon be looking at expansion plans.

This, as passenger numbers continue to rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic meant a drop in air travel.

Airport Manager Greg Haug said in 2019, he was working on hiring a consultant to study the airport's needs and make plans for upgrades.

"Then COVID hit, and we didn't continue those plans at that time," Haug said.

Now, Haug said, boardings are up, especially among leisure travelers — though he said business and government travel is still down by about 20 percent from pre-COVID levels. Still, he said the timing seems right to look at expansion.

"We are in the throes right now of negotiating an agreement to do that study," Haug said.

Haug said the need is there.

"Back in 2019, we had as many as six planes that would come in at night, sit on the ground and remain overnight," Haug said. "We had four gates."

And Haug said when the airport had several of the bigger, mainline aircraft operating close to each other throughout the day, the boarding area was pretty full.

Haug said the expansion could include more gates, a bigger boarding area, and another baggage claim carousel. He said the study will likely take a year to complete – and after that, he would be working with the Bismarck City Commission to come up with a financing plan.

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