What is going on?
North Dakota has been busy building a new international airport to replace its small and aging Williston Sloulin Field International Airport (ISN/KISN). The whole project cost $243 million to build, and it was a project “from the ground up.” The new airport is located about 10 miles northwest of Sloulin Field. The airport director said that it was the “fastest commercial airport relocation since World War II.” It took just 3 years to go from land to a beautiful airport.
What is this new international airport?
Williston Basin International Airport (XWA/KXWA).
Why was this airport built?
This airport is way bigger than Sloulin Field (ISN/KISN). The booming oil and energy caused an increase in demand for the area. Increased demand for commercial airline and business aviation travel prompted the project to replace Sloulin Field (ISN/KISN). ISN did not reach FAA requirements to handle larger and heavier aircraft, which hold more passengers. Because of this, Williston set out to build a much larger airport that would allow for bigger airplanes and more passenger traffic.
The first commercial flight into XWA
The first commercial flight into Williston Basin International Airport (XWA/KXWA) took place yesterday, October 10, 2019. The flight was supposed to be a United flight from Denver (DEN/KDEN) (either UA4643 or UA4720), but due to delays in Denver because of weather, the first flight into XWA was a Delta flight from Minneapolis (MSP/KMSP) (DL4007). (Fun Fact, the pilot of DL4007 was a Williston native, Elliot Monson!)
Williston Basin International Airport and the FAA
The FAA did not grant the airport its operating certificate until the night before it was scheduled to open, October 9, 2019. Because of that, it was a frantic and rush to transfer staff and equipment from ISN to XWA.
What do I think of this?
I think this new airport (XWA) looks absolutely stunning! The design is beautiful and it looks so much bigger than ISN. The terminal is very roomy and modern-looking. I think Williston did a great job with this airport and I look forward to seeing new growth and developments happening at this airport!