During a month that marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic started to severely impact air travel; North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports posted a total of 72,504 airline passenger boardings. This is an increase of almost 22,000 passengers from the previous month of February as Spring travel in North Dakota begins to take off.
This month experienced the highest level of passenger traffic that North Dakota has seen since the Covid-19 pandemic began; however, these passenger counts are still approximately 32% below the normal pre-pandemic levels seen in March of 2019.
The growth in passenger demand and optimism surrounding a recovery in the travel industry has prompted the airline industry to revive hiring plans as they continue to slowly add back flights and seat capacity to certain communities. The only non-stop destination route in North Dakota that was lost during the pandemic (Williston – Minneapolis) is now also expected to return as Delta Airlines announced its plans to add its route back to Williston this coming June.
“Optimism is building for the travel industry’s recovery as airport parking lots are noticeably filling with vehicles and activity levels and passenger counts continue to trend in a positive direction,” stated Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.