New international airport in North Dakota to facilitate growing passenger demand

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The new Basin airport marks the end of the 1947 Sloulin Field airport

A small town of Williston, North Dakota, might soon be turning into an important crossroads. On Thursday, 10 October, it will open a new airport Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) to keep up with the area’s growth and increasing demand for air travel.

The first flight to mark the official opening of the airport will be a United Airlines flight 4643 from Denver. It is scheduled to touch down on Thursday morning.

The building project started in 2006 and reportedly cost $275 million. It spans 1,600 acres and it is located some 10 miles northwest of Williston. 

“You have to build all that infrastructure underneath, get all the lights and all that – so it’s an expensive deal. And then to build a new terminal from scratch and then try to move everybody over – that’s a challenge, absolutely a challenge,” said Kevin Ploehn, director of aviation and transit in Billings.

The new airport will have its own brewery restaurant, executive lounges, and a private terminal 

Within just a few months, the airport managed to touch up the airport's look — Williston Basin International Airport - XWAWithin just a few months, the airport managed to touch up the airport’s look — Williston Basin International Airport – XWA


The opening of the new airport coincides with the closing of Williston’s Sloulin Field airport, which can no longer keep up with the demand. 

Built in 1947, the airport was remodeled in 2005 to serve 10,000 passengers a year. By 2014, the passenger numbers were at 120,000 a year.

The new airport will feature its own brewery restaurant, executive lounges for both passengers and crews, and also a private terminal.

“We’re looking forward to the next twenty to thirty years of air service, bringing in more options for people,” said David Tuan, Williston city administrator.