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Best-ever July boarding numbers: Eight N.D. airports up 8.5 percent

Jamestown Regional Airport was not alone in seeing its best July boarding numbers.

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission reported Wednesday that July boarding numbers for the state’s eight commercial service airports reached 111,058, which is 8.5 percent higher than in July 2013.

Kyle Wanner, director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, said this is the first July in the state’s history in which there were more than 110,000 boardings at North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports.

“This (111,058 boardings) makes this our best July on record,” he said.

Wanner said having jet commercial passenger service between Denver International Airport and Jamestown Regional Airport and Devils Lake Regional Airport helped boost the state’s overall airport boarding numbers.

“July was the first month we’ve had jet service offered to all eight of our commercial service airports. That is pretty significant,” he said.

Bismarck Airport saw its July boardings increase 8.23 percent from 2013, from 20,038 to 21,688. Boardings during the same time at other airports were also up. Hector International Airport in Fargo increased 10.78 percent, from 37,895 to 41,980. Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport saw a 53.01 percent increase, from 3,720 to 5,692. Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston had a 12.47 percent increase, from 8,289 to 9,323.

Wanner said recent upgrades in commercial passenger service to Dickinson and Williston have also helped boost boardings at those airports.

“Both (Williston and Dickinson) had propeller airplane service to Denver,” he said. “Now, they have jet passenger service to Denver and Minneapolis, and that is helping their (boarding) numbers.”

Wanner said a more telling number is the year-to-date totals at the eight commercial service airports. Through the end of July, 717,279 boardings were recorded in the state, up 8.6 percent from 660,473 when compared to the same time period last year.

Hector International Airport has the biggest physical number increase, 30,332, in year-to-date boards, from 238,423 through July 2013 to 268,755 through July of this year.

Shaw Dobberstein, executive director of the Fargo Municipal Airport Authority, said July was the 19th consecutive month for record-setting boarding numbers at Hector International Airport.

“People must be finding good deals on fares,” he said.

Dobberstein said Delta and American airlines each reported record numbers of passengers in July at Hector International Airport. He said Fargo’s diverse economy is part of the reason for the sustained, record-setting numbers.

“We are attracting passengers from a long ways away,” he said. “We are getting a lot of Canadians, people driving down to fly out of our airport.”

Jamestown Regional Airport had a record-setting July with 652 boardings, up from 247 in 2013. Matt Leitner, airport manager, said as of today, JRA had 250 boardings for August.

“The best August we ever had for boardings was 384 in 2011. I think we’re going to beat it this year,” he said.

Leitner said he is glad that JRA is able to be part of the positive trend related to North Dakota’s commercial service airports.

“Our flights are fairly full, were still pulling people from Aberdeen (S.D.), Valley City and the surrounding areas. Things are going great,” he said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454