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State air passenger retention rises

Minot airport rebounds slowly from pandemic

Minot’s airline boardings in September were down 45.4% from the same month a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic continued to impact air travel nationally.

North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports posted 39,451 passenger boardings in September, according to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

The 44% retention rate of passengers from a year ago is the highest monthly retention rate North Dakota has experienced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission reported. However, this is also the first month since April that the state has experienced a lower passenger volume than the previous month. There were 4,000 fewer passengers in September than in August.

“September is seasonally one of our slowest months for air travel in the state of North Dakota and so as expected, we experienced a small dip in passenger volume from August,” said Kyle Wanner, executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “Our commercial service airports have now been successfully operating during the COVID-19 pandemic for seven months, and during that time they have worked hard to ensure that a safe environment exists for the traveling public. Since air transportation is also one of the safest modes of transportation, it is critical that it continues to remain a viable option for our travelers.”

The Minot airport saw 6,821 passengers board in September, which compares to 12,496 passengers in September 2019. The airport had a 54.6% retention rate, up from 53% in August. The pandemic caused the cancellation of Norsk Hostfest, a major event in September that draws performers, vendors and visitors from around the country and internationally.

For the year, Minot’s boardings through September total 61,662, compared to 122,068 a year ago.

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