Skip to main content

2015 Airline Passenger Numbers

Posted 1/14/16 (Thu)



2015 Airline Passenger Numbers 2nd Best Year on Record


North Dakota’s commercial service airports finished 2015 with a statewide total of 1,179,269 passenger boarding’s.  This is a 5% decrease in passengers from the all-time record of 1,243,568 passenger’s that was previously set in 2014. 


The 2015 passenger numbers are the second best year on record for the state and also marks the first year since 2007 that North Dakota’s statewide airline passenger boarding numbers posted a year-over-year decline.  Bismarck, Jamestown, and Devils Lake were the three airports within the state that saw more passengers this past year than they did in 2014.  The communities of Minot, Dickinson, and Williston posted the largest decline in passenger numbers which can be directly contributed to the decline of the workforce in the Western North Dakota oil fields.


The overall increase in the number of passengers in recent years has brought additional air service opportunities into the state.  In looking at the flight destinations available to the flying public, all eight of the commercial service airports currently provide jet service and the state is currently averaging 65 airline departures per day to 9 different non-stop destination airports.  For perspective, in 2007 the state averaged 52 airline departures per day to 5 non-stop destination airports. 


After seven years of consecutive growth, our airline boarding numbers are beginning to settle down due to the difficult challenges that the oil and agricultural industries in the state have been facing.  Low oil prices, low commodity prices for farmers, and the low value of the Canadian dollar have all factored into reasons as to why the state was not able to reach an eighth consecutive year of growth.

“The current year-over-year decline in passenger numbers does not diminish the fact that our long-term statewide airline passengers growth has been tremendous, especially once you consider the fact that passenger numbers have grown by 78% over the last 10 years.  The continual increase in the utilization of the airports in North Dakota has proven that they have been important economic engines for our communities. As the state continues to work hard to diversify North Dakota’s economy, the aviation industry will continue to play an important role in those efforts.” stated Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.