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North Dakota airline boardings dip in August as leisure travel slows

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Airline boardings at the Bismarck airport in August were up from August 2020 but below pre-pandemic levels in August 2019.

Airline boardings at North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports in August dipped after moving closer to pre-pandemic levels the previous month, though the state's top aeronautics official said that isn't surprising.

“July is historically one of our busiest months out of the year for air travel, and so it can be expected to see lower passenger numbers heading into the fall as leisure travel begins to slow down,” said Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

A total of 82,371 passengers boarded planes in August, nearly double the August 2020 figure but well below the 101,784 boardings in August 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The airports in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo, Devils Lake and Jamestown all saw an increase in passengers this August from the previous year. Bismarck's 19,272 boardings were 77% higher than the airport's August 2020 figure, though a drop of 26% from August 2019.

Fargo and Devils Lake both were close to their August 2019 figure, but none of the other airports was.

Still, “Our communities are doing an incredible job in maintaining a high level of air service and we hope to see passenger demand maintain at current levels and then grow, once the holiday season arrives,” Wanner said.

Year-to-date boardings are ahead of the 2020 pace at all eight airports. Statewide, they're up more than 41%. But they're down 30% from 2019.

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