The aviation industry is quickly changing in North Dakota due to population growth and impact from oil development. Aviation can be a key element in job growth, economic stimulation, transport for businesses, life saving operations, and potential tourism opportunities in addition to connecting communities with other cities, states, or countries.

Aviation Plan

What is an Aviation Plan?

An Aviation plan (also known as an Aviation Needs Assessment) determines the current state, existing role and potential opportunities for the airports and their services in a particular place. There are two airports (New Town Municipal Airport and Parshall-Hankins Airport) on Fort Berthold. In addition, there are 8 commercial service airports in North Dakota, and 81 general aviation airports. Since 2007, the number of airline boardings in ND has nearly doubled from 652,380 to over 1.1 million in 2013!1 According to the 2015 North Dakota Aviation Economic Impact Study, since 2010, the number of air visitors to North Dakota have increased from 543,300 to 915,290 (68% increase!). In addition, since 2010, commercial visitor spending in North Dakota increased from $105 million to $361 million (increase of 244%) and general aviation visitor spending increased from $17 million to $101 million (increase of 494%). Annual economic impacts from public-use airports have increased from $1.06 billion to $1.56 billion (47% increase), jobs supported by North Dakota airports have grown from 8,872 to 12,217 (38% increase), and annual state and local sales tax revenues from airport supported activities have increased from $31.1 million to over $60 million (93% increase)2. An Aviation Needs Assessment will determine if the airports are meeting the needs of OUR communities and region, and will prioritize and implement steps for their improvement.

When creating an aviation plan, important factors to consider include airport access and safety, financial sustainability, security, as well as impact on the environment, climate, air quality, water quality, and noise pollution. An airport needs assessment will help identify necessary updates to components like airport infrastructure, runway condition, noise, emissions, and safety. Updates can include runway planning and resurfacing, improved drainage, analysis of airspace, airport layout planning, airport structure design and improvements, and wildlife fencing.

Why is Aviation Planning Important?

Access to Vital Services.

Aviation is essential for providing access to vital services such as medical evacuation, government, business (oil and gas related transportation including mechanical and part supply), and tourism. Aviation Planning helps us identify areas of need and explores sustainable and affordable solutions to meeting those needs.

Funding Opportunities.

Aviation Planning helps us to identify new funding opportunities. For example, because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classifies Parshall-Hankins Airport on the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), it may be eligible to receive Federal funding under the Federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP).3

Connect Fort Berthold.

The world is becoming more globally connected every day. By developing a comprehensive Aviation plan, we can begin improving and updating the airport infrastructure on Fort Berthold in order to better connect our communities to the rest of the state, nation, and world.

How many people are employed in North Dakota's Airports/Aviation/Aerospace industries?

How many million people are employed in the United States' Airports/Aviation/Aerospace industries annually?

How many air visitors traveled to North Dakota in 2015?

How many million people flew domestically (just in the US) in 2016?


From 2010 to 2015, how much has air visitor traffic to North Dakota increased?

How many millions of pounds of mail and freight were moved in 2017 domestically?


What percentage of North Dakota's total Gross State Product does this industry account for?


What percentage of the United States' total Gross State Product does this industry account for?

Sources: North Dakota Aviation Economic Impact Study (2015); https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/by_the_numbers/

What were the economic impacts of the Aviation industry in North Dakota (2015)?

What methods were used North Dakota Aviation Economic Impact Study (2015)?

What would YOU like to see addressed in the Aviation Plan?

Enter your full name, a valid email address, and a detailed message in the forms just below to tell us what YOU would like to see in the Aviation Plan. What else would you like to know about it? We also want your stories and perspectives on the questions framing this project; How did we end up with the aviation infrastructure that we currently have? Where is it today? Where do we want it to be in 20 years?

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Show 3 Footnotes

  1. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-24/north-dakotas-airports-get-busy-thanks-to-oil-boom
  2. https://fortbertholdplan.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Fact_Sheet_-_Final_2.pdf
  3. http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/npias/