Minot International Airport

North Dakota Airline Boardings Returning to Pre-COVID Levels

North Dakota’s commercial service airports finished calendar year 2022 with a statewide total of 1,028,159 airline passenger boardings. This is a growth of 141,350 passengers and a 16% overall increase from calendar year 2021. All eight commercial service airports were able to provide services to more passengers in 2022 than they did in the previous calendar year.

In 2022, the airports also tallied 1,023,816 passenger deplanements for a grand total of 2,051,975 passengers (enplanements and deplanements) that traveled through the commercial service terminal buildings of North Dakota over the past year.

Significant winter storm events that resulted in an increase in canceled flights throughout North Dakota in both November and December also impacted the numbers. Despite these impacts, the state was still able to successfully surpass 1 million passenger boardings for the year. This is an exciting milestone that has not occurred since the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Airline boardings have been adversely affected since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when the industry experienced a significant decline in passenger numbers beginning in March of 2020. That year, airline passenger demand dropped by over 50% and North Dakota recorded an annual total of 572,093 passenger boardings. Since that time, airline passenger demand has seen a remarkable recovery and the current data reveals that air travel demand remains strong in North Dakota.

The growth in passenger demand bolsters the justification for airlines to look to add more flights, destinations, and seat capacity to North Dakota’s airports. Airlines, however; continue to cite challenges in their ability to upscale as they continue to grapple with a shortage of pilots and other aviation related jobs. need for a growing aviation workforce will continue to create opportunities for our youth to consider a career in the aviation sector. Pilots, aircraft mechanics, and unmanned aircraft operators are just a few of the exciting career options that are projected to continue to be in high demand.

Despite all challenges, North Dakota continues to provide the public with a high level of air service availability as the state’s airports provide the public with seven non-stop destinations and an additional three seasonal non-stop options. All eight of the commercial service airports in North Dakota also continue to provide their communities with reliable jet service.

“This past year was one of significant challenges for the aviation industry as it worked to accommodate a large recovery in passenger demand while simultaneously experiencing significant workforce shortages.” stated Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “Amongst these challenges, North Dakota’s airline passenger demand is within reach of a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels. The success of this recovery showcases the resiliency of our state as well as the importance and heightened standard of living that air service opportunities provide to our citizens.”


News Release

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