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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.

North Dakota’s airports are seeing more passenger boardings, as air travel continues to slowly recover from the hit the industry took as the coronavirus pandemic began.

The state Aeronautics Commission reports 47,574 passenger boardings in the month of October. State Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner said that’s 47 percent of the passengers that flew last year at this time.

Wanner said this is the highest monthly demand in airline passengers since the pandemic began last spring.

ND Airline boardings continue to recover

Sep 16, 2020

Air travel continues to recover in North Dakota.

According to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, 43,559 people boarded airplanes in August, at North Dakota’s eight commercial airports. State Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner said since COVID-19 virtually shut down air travel in March, the state has seen passenger numbers rebound.

Wanner said it’s good to see demand returning.

"It's still far below the pre-pandemic number," Wanner sid. "But at the same time, these are encouraging numbers."

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."

2019 'second busiest' year for ND Airports

Jan 17, 2020
ND Aeronautcs Commission

Nearly 1.2 million passengers boarded commercial airplanes in North Dakota in 2019.

That makes it the second busiest on record for North Dakota airports. And it was up about 10 percent from 2018.

Seven of the eight commercial airports in the state showed more passengers than they did in 2018. And three airports – Bismarck, Devils Lake and Fargo – set new records.

ND Airline boardings up in 2018, so far

Nov 16, 2018

Another sign of a recovering economy.

Airline boardings in North Dakota airports grew by nearly 9.5 percent from last October to this October.

"That's pretty incredible growth," said North Dakota Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner.

Wanner said year-to-date, boardings in 2018 are overall about 4-and-a-half percent higher than they were in 2017.

"There's been a lot of growth in North Dakota," Wanner said. "The oil economy is on the rebound, and other economic areas in the state are doing well."

United Airlines will be adding two daily flights from Bismarck to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, beginning in June.

United already flies between Bismarck and Denver.

"What it means for this business community is more options," said Bismarck-Mandan Chamber president and Bismarck-Mandan Development Association president Brian Ritter. "Not everyone flies the same. Any time there's more options, we all win."

Ritter said for a city of Bismarck’s size, it has very good air service. Five carriers – United, Delta, American, Allegiant and Frontier – serve the city.