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Published December 26, 2013, 04:28 PM

Grand Forks airport sets November passenger boarding record

Grand Forks, Fargo and Dickinson set November airport passenger boarding records, while Williston recorded its best month ever.

Grand Forks, Fargo and Dickinson set November airport passenger boarding records, while Williston recorded its best month ever, according to the latest report from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Grand Forks International Airport recorded 12,249 passenger boardings in November, an increase of 1,063, or 9.5 percent over November 2012.

Fargo tallied 30,199 November boardings, an increase of 1,985 or 7 percent from a year ago.

However, those numbers paled in comparison with Dickinson and Williston.

Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport had 4,191 enplanements in November, an increase of 2,574 or 159.2 percent over November 2012, according to the report.

Williston Municipal Airport reported 8,973 boardings in November, an increase of 4,057 82.5 percent over November 2012.

“Air travel is a safe and comfortable way of bringing friends and family together for the holidays,” State Aeronautic Director Larry Taborsky said in a news release. “North Dakota has more flights to more destinations than ever before.”

The state hit 1 million passengers for the year in November, a month earlier than in 2012. The 1,033,965 passengers in the first 11 months marks a 10.5 percent increase over the first 11 months of 2012.

Statewide, boardings in November totaled 92,661, an increase of 8.9 percent over November 2012.

For the first 11 months this year, boardings in Grand Forks totaled 133,959, an increase of about 9 percent over 2012.

Fargo’s boardings for those 11 months total 362,343, an 8.7 percent increase over 2012.

While total boardings have increased, three airports showed a drop in boardings in November, compared with a year ago.

Devils Lake had just 181 boardings in November, down 70 or 27.9 percent from 2012. The airport’s 2,417 boardings for the year are 315 or 11.5 percent behind 2012’s pace.

Jamestown Regional Airport had 224 boardings, compared with 251 in November 2012, for a 10.8 percent decrease. For the first 11 months, Jamestown had 2,458 boardings, a decrease of 1,103 or about 31 percent from the same period in 2012.

Devils Lake and Jamestown boardings were affected by several passenger flight cancellations in October and November.

Both are served by Great Lakes Airlines, which canceled flights after an FAA regulation change this past summer increased the number of flight hours required to serve as a co-pilot. As a result, many employees of smaller, regional airlines were grounded until they could meet the new rules.

Bismarck, meanwhile, dropped from 19,979 in November 2012 to 18,088 in 2013, a decrease of 9.5 percent. For the year, Bismarck is slightly ahead of 2012, with 215,191 boardings from January through November, compared with 214,515 in 2012.