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North Dakota Airline Passenger Demand Showcases Remarkable Recovery in 2021

Posted 1/21/22 (Fri)

North Dakota’s commercial service airports finished calendar year 2021 with a statewide total of 886,809 airline passenger boardings. This is an increase of 314,716 passengers or a 55% increase from 2020. All eight commercial service airports were able to provide services to more passengers in 2021 than they did in the previous calendar year.

In 2021, the airports also tallied 887,914 passenger deplanements for a grand total of 1,774,723 passengers (enplanements and deplanements) that traveled through the commercial service terminal buildings of North Dakota over the past year.

Airline boardings have been adversely affected since the beginning of the pandemic when the state experienced an immediate 95% percent decline in passenger numbers during the month of April in 2020. Since that time, the state has been continually trending in a positive direction and in recent months, the recovery in passenger demand has grown to an average of 17% below 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.

The recent growth in demand throughout 2021 has also encouraged airlines to begin looking to add more flights, destinations, and seat capacity to airports; though challenges with workforce shortages have limited their up-scaling ability. Demand for aviation workers has and will continue to create opportunities and provides encouragement 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 in the near future.

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 ten non-stop destination options (three are seasonal). All eight of the commercial service airports in North Dakota also continue to provide their communities with reliable jet service.

“The past year was one of significant challenges for the aviation industry as it worked to accommodate a large recovery in passenger demand while pro-actively mitigating risks associated with the pandemic and 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 2019’s pre-pandemic levels. The success of the ongoing recovery showcases the resiliency of our state as well as the importance that aviation transportation provides to all of our communities.

Calendar Year 2021 Airline Boarding Press Release and Statistical Information