Gov. Doug Burgum today joined local, state and federal officials in celebrating the completion of the new Williston Basin International Airport, calling it vital to the region’s growing population and economy.
“This is a historic day for Williston and the entire Bakken region. Williston Basin International Airport is an incredible facility that will serve a growing population, provide vital air travel services and sustain long-term economic expansion by continuing to bring new people, new businesses and new opportunity to the region,” Burgum said. “We’re deeply grateful to all of the local, state and federal champions for making this major investment in North Dakota’s future, including the $55 million invested by the state. Smart, efficient infrastructure like this state-of-the-art airport will serve the needs of North Dakota citizens today and help us attract the much-needed workforce of tomorrow.”
Located 10 miles northwest of Williston, the new $273 million airport encompasses 1,600 acres. It replaces Sloulin Field International Airport, which no longer met Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design standards and also faced runway issues and expansion constraints as airline boardings increased dramatically during the Bakken oil boom. At its peak, Sloulin Field saw more than 119,000 boardings in 2014 – more than 10 times the 11,229 boardings in 2009. Nearly 78,000 people flew through Williston last year, and over 59,000 boardings were reported through August of this year, according to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new airport was held Oct. 10, 2016. The completed terminal is 100,000 square feet – almost 10 times the size of the Sloulin Field terminal. A combination of local, state and federal dollars funded the airport’s construction.
Among those attending today’s ribbon cutting were former Gov. Jack Dalrymple and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple, U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, FAA Deputy Associate Administrator for Airports Winsome Lenfert, Bank of North Dakota President Eric Hardmeyer, Aeronautics Commission Executive Director Kyle Wanner, state legislators, city commissioners, airport officials and Williston Mayor Howard Klug, who emceed the ceremony.
The first flight into Williston Basin International Airport is expected to arrive on Thursday, Oct. 10.