Traffic Decline Hits North Dakota Airports

New data shows the number of airport passengers are dropping at North Dakota’s commercial airports.

It’s slowing down at Hector International Airport but Fargo isn’t seeing the same amount of traffic decline as the rest of the state.

The problem may be stewing from out west.
So far in 2016, many in North Dakota are taking a break from seeking adventures.

One could point a finger at the oil bust out West.
“A lot of our traffic decline is due to our oil industry dropping. We’ve actually from month to month, stabilized,” says Sloulin Field International Airport Director Steven Kjergaard.
According to the state aviation council’s data, 2014 had the highest numbers of passengers across the state.

But Williston and Dickinson were hit the hardest with the biggest declines.
Kjergaard adds, “We could see a continuation in drop but we don’t foresee any reduction in our flights for United or Delta. So I don’t believe that we’ll see any more reduction in our passenger planes either.”
March is one of the busiest months at Hector International Airport but there’s been a 12 percent drop from last year.

Some people say they are still flying out of Fargo because it’s convenient.
“We’re flying out of here because of less traffic,” says Patty Zorman of Remer, Minnesota.
Zorman prefers driving the three hours to Hector Airport rather than Minneapolis.

But the committed Fargo flyer says she’s slowing down on traveling.
Zorman explains, “We don’t go like we use to. Maybe because it’s that we’re all getting older. We used to go every six months or so, now it’s every couple of years.”
Another flyer out of Fargo says it’s not worth the hassle, even if there is a heavier price tag.
“They are kind of pricey, but then you add in the rental of the rental car and the time you drive it over here and stuff, it’s just more convenient to fly into where you’re going to, like Hector,” says Oscar Stalvik of West Fargo.
Hector International Airport did not want to go on camera, but says that the drop of the Canadian dollar also plays a factor in this traffic decline.

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