Leisure airline travel on the rise as summer approaches

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 8:03 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – With summer coming up fast, airports around the state said they are on the road to recovery as passenger numbers continue to rise near the end of COVID-19.

The North Dakota Aeronautics commission reports the month of March saw the highest number of passengers since the pandemic began.

Minot residents said they are ready to travel this summer whether by car, train, or plane.

“I like doing road trips. Flying is a lot easier it’s a lot more convenient but I like doing road trips, plus I like having my vehicle there while I’m home,” said Minot resident Darin Frye.

“I started taking Amtrak when the pandemic hit to visit my relatives in Washington state, and they also have been traveling out here to see me by Amtrak,” said resident April Slocum.

Some said they will be playing catch up with their vacations.

“We missed all our vacations last year, we had things planned for last year. We normally do one vacation a year so we’re doubling up this year to catch up from last year,” said resident Dena Penton.

After seeing a 95% decline at the start of the pandemic the state aeronautics commission said it’s a good start on the road to recovery for the airline industry.

“Most recently here now in March and even April, we’re now back to close to 70% of where we were pre-pandemic and so those are great numbers. And they’re really attributed to the fact that people feel safer and more comfortable and flying,” said Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

The Center for Disease Control has travel guidelines for domestic travel including wearing a mask, social distancing, self-monitoring, and following state and local health recommendations.

But summer travelers said it’s time to get going.

I feel like we’ve been cooped up for a while now and not able to go many places so it’s just time to get out and see things again,” said Penton.

Wanner said it’s important for consumers to continue using air travel to make sure those services will continue to be available across the state.

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