Record-breaking summer airline travel

BISMARCK, N.D. - With the kids back in school, the busy travel season has pretty well wrapped up. And it was a record breaking summer for airlines.

Newly released numbers on Thursday show airline boardings are up across the state for the seventh straight month. In June, there were about 2,500 more passengers, or an almost 3-percent increase compared to the same month in 2017. In July, the eight airports statewide were up more than 4,200 passengers, or 4.5 percent. And in August, the numbers were even higher, with almost 6,000 more passengers, or an almost 7-percent increase compared to August 2017. Year to date, airports statewide are up more than 25,000 passengers, or 3.7 percent from this time last year.

"That's an incredible growth for us in North Dakota, especially after a downturn we saw in the last couple of years,” said Kyle Wanner, N.D. Aeronautics Commission director. “And so we're really excited to see growth coming back."

While numbers are on the uptick across the state, they're also on the rise across the country.

If you flew on an airplane this summer, you're not alone. The Transportation Security Administration reports more than 253 million passengers and crew were processed between Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, up six percent from last summer.

Brenda Hersch and her family didn't make it out this summer, but are now taking a trip.

“My youngest turned 21 and we were going to do a family vacation in Vegas,” Hersch said. “So my family of five is going and then we're going to meet my sister and her husband and youngest daughter from Texas.”

They're flying out of what has been a very busy Bismarck airport this summer.

“Between the five airlines and the seven destinations that we have, we do see that the airport is more busy,” said Matthew Remynse, Bismarck Airport marketing operations manager. “You know TSA sees that, I'm sure if you talked with our custodial staff they'll tell you, too, that they're definitely seeing more passengers come through the terminal, which is what we want.”

According to Airlines for America, competitive ticket prices are part of the reason for more travelers.

“At times they got kinda high, and when they got to a certain level it’s like, well its getting closer, it’s time to book it,” Hersch said. “I think we did pretty good.”

The TSA is also reporting that nine of its top 10 busiest weeks in its 15 year history happened this summer.

The Bismarck airport saw pretty flat numbers this summer compared to last, however part of that could be contributed to the airport's main runway which has been under construction the last couple months. That is expected to re-open on September 25.