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Forum Communications, Published July 22 2012

North Dakota aviation boardings soar in booming economy

GRAND FORKS – As with other aspects of North Dakota’s booming economy, aviation in parts of the state went from a trickle to a torrent, and airports are working to keep up.

“You’re talking about going from a crawling to running in a short period of time,” said Grand Forks Airport Director Patrick Dame. “We’ve just skipped the walking.”

Boarding numbers at airports across the state are up 22 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same time last year.

Grand Forks’ growth matches the state number, but boardings at western North Dakota airports are skyrocketing: up 73.5 percent in Dickinson, 62.8 percent in Minot and 41 percent in Williston.

The strong growth in airport activity has been common in the state in recent years and is usually attributed to the oil boom in western North Dakota and the state’s overall healthy economy.