Airline passenger boardings making a slow recovery | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Airline passenger boardings making a slow recovery

Jul 16, 2020

Airline passenger boardings in North Dakota are slowly recovering – after demand dropped off because of COVID-19.

The operative word being “slowly.”

In April, passenger boardings were only 5 percent of April, 2019.

"In May, we saw 14 percent, and now in June, we're at 24 percent of last year," said North Dakota Aeronautics Director Kyle Wanner. "It's a gradual increase, but not even close to where we were prior to the pandemic crisis occurring in April."

Wanner said in order to pick up boardings, concerns over the virus need to be mitigated. In the meantime, he said airports and airlines are focused on doing what they can to prevent the spread of COVID.

"They're insuring that social distancing is being practiced, encouraging the use of masks, washing hands -- all of the recommendations are in place," Wanner said. "Airlines and airports are doing their best to ensure a safe environment."

Wanner said there needs to be a return of demand, before the airlines are going to want to add additional capacity.

For the moment, Delta Airlines has stopped service to Williston. And Wanner said for the first six months of the year, boardings are down 47 percent from the same time last year.