Senator John Hoeven today announced that United Airlines will begin service between Williston's Sloulin Field International Airport and Denver beginning November 4, 2012. Tickets will be available starting on July 10, and flights will run three times daily. Airline officials say the aircraft will be regional jets accommodating 50 passengers.
"United Airlines coming into Williston with three flights daily is a big win, and part of our ongoing efforts to build infrastructure in a dynamic and growing part of our state," Hoeven said. "Our western airports are seeing record increases in boardings almost monthly, and United's expansion of service, combined with a larger airport will help to support the region's robust development."
In May, airline boardings in North Dakota were up 27 percent, 23 percent year to date, and the city of Williston experienced a 47 percent increase over the same month last year, according to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. Nationally, domestic airline traffic was up just 1 percent in March 2012, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Hoeven has often cited North Dakota's robust economy in urging United Airlines and other carriers to expand service to the state's eight major airports.
Williston's Sloulin Field has become one of North Dakota's busiest airports owing to growing oil activity and rising population. Today's announcement about United Airlines comes as the city is planning either to build a new airport outside of town or to expand the existing airport to accommodate the increased air traffic. The cost of the project is estimated to be between $100 million and $150 million.