Despite State Increase, Grand Forks Airport Loses Boardings in 2005

The eight commercial airports in North Dakota increased airline boardings in 2005 by 5.3 percent, or 31,521 passengers from 2004. It's a record historic high for the state.

But at Grand Forks International Airport, boardings were down by 2.4 percent, or 2,111 passengers, from 2004.

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission released the numbers Tuesday.

The Grand Forks' results were disappointing, but they're not significantly different from the majority of airports across the state, said Steve Johnson, director of the Grand Forks Airport Authority.

Regional airports in Devils Lake, Jamestown, Dickinson and Williston saw a 3.8 percent decline overall. The only smaller airport bucking the trend was Devils Lake, with boardings up 14.6 percent over the previous year.

The bulk of the statewide increase, however, was the result of passengers going through the Bismarck and Fargo airports. Boardings in Fargo were up 18,433, just more than 7 percent from 2004; and boardings in Bismarck were up by 14,577 people, or 9 percent.

Their gain could have contributed to Grand Forks' loss.

"We know a major contributor to the decrease (in Grand Forks) is our customers choosing to use other airports," Johnson said. "To the degree we can affect it, it's appropriate to expect efforts from us toward that end."

Grand Forks Herald

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