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Air travel at commercial airports slowly picking up in ND

BISMARCK (AP) — Air travel at North Dakota’s eight commercial airports continued to slowly pickup in June after dropping to a historic low in the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, the state’s airports had about 5,000 passengers, or 5% of normal traffic for their lowest monthly passenger count since record keeping began 40 years ago.

The number of passengers rose to 13,474 in May, and to 24,313 in June, according to the state Aeronautics Commission.

The June number was still only about 24% of expected traffic for the month, but it was up from 14% of expected traffic in May, according to Aeronautics Commissioner Kyle Wanner, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“We have now had two consecutive months of passenger growth since the month of April; however, our passengers counts are still only at 24% of precrisis levels,” he said. “Concerns regarding further spread of COVID-19 currently limits the upside of the airline industry and its ability to attract additional demand.”

North Dakota has commercial service airports in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo, Devils Lake and Jamestown.

The Federal Aviation Administration is providing more than $85 million in aid to 53 North Dakota airports through the CARES Act, an economic rescue package. The Bismarck airport is getting more than $20 million.