Passenger enplanements were up for all three months of the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same months in 2017. February showed the biggest percentage increase of the quarter over last year.
Total enplanements in January were 34,022, up slightly from the 33,580 enplanements recorded in January 2017. There were 553 air carrier departures with an average of 78 seats per flight. Delta and United experienced a slight increase in market share compared to January 2017, while Allegiant and American Airlines experienced slight decreases.
February enplanements were 36,655, up nearly 6 percent from 34,647 in 2017. There were 533 departures, with an average of 80 seats occupied per flight. All four air carriers experienced a growth in market share in February. Delta continued to hold the majority market share, with 37 percent.
In March, passenger enplanements totaled 40,169, up 3 percent from 39,422 enplanements in March 2017. There were 648 air carrier departures with an average of 79 seats per flight. Enplanements on American Airlines to Chicago and Dallas were up 16 percent over March 2017, setting a new Hector record for the carrier.
Long-term Planning Continues
The most recent airport master plan has been submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is expected to be approved in the next few months. The plan includes various alternatives for expansions and upgrades over the next 20 years, including modifications to runways, taxiways, terminal areas and parking lots.
On Feb. 13, the Municipal Airport Authority hosted a public meeting to share details and gather input for a planned pedestrian skyway at the airport. The project would connect passenger parking lots to the airport terminal and could also be used to connect a parking garage to the terminal in the future if it is deemed feasible. The total cost of the skyway project is estimated at $13 million to $15 million, of which 90 percent would be eligible for federal funding through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program. The next step will be to open the project to bids, which could happen by the end of this year. If the project is finalized, the skyway could be complete in 2019.
Recognition and Achievements
In January, Dr. Virginia Clark Johnson was elected chair of the Municipal Airport Authority board. Retired Maj. Gen. Mike Haugen was elected vice chair of the board. Other board members include Don Kilander, Tammy Linn and Stephen Blazek. In late March, Mayor Tim Mahoney appointed Erik Lind to replace Don Kilander on the board, beginning April 8. We extend our appreciation to Don for his many years of dedicated service to the Municipal Airport Authority.
Security guard Jim Lehse received an award from FM Ambulance for saving the life of a passenger who went into cardiac arrest in the terminal this January. He provided CPR until ambulance crews arrived.
The Hector International Airport Fire Department provided an airport rescue and firefighting truck and foam that played a key role in extinguishing a large industrial fire in West Fargo on Feb. 18.
FedEx Express earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its ramp sort facility and ramp maintenance building at Hector International Airport.
Did You Know?
The Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants are funded by the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which receives revenues from a 7.5 percent domestic passenger ticket tax as well as fuel taxes, flight segment fees, domestic mail and cargo taxes, and international passenger taxes. Eligible airport improvement projects can receive 90 percent funding from the AIP program.