Yesterday when I posted the city sales tax tables I was missing some of the data for the 3 % motel assessment. I have that data now and have posted the data and my comments. You will find both in the posting immediately below this one. Also, I finally have all the figures for major North Dakota cities building permit numbers for 2013. Again, we can not necessarily compare the actual dollar amount, but the percentage changes are of use for comparison. You will find that table below in the posting about Grand Forks permit values for December 2013 and YTD..

Across North Dakota in 2013 more than 2025 passengers boarded scheduled airlines every week. That means that on average North Dakota added the equivalent of more than six weeks of business compared to 2012. The oil patch cities of Williston and Dickinson lead the way with an increase of more than 47% in Dickinson and nearly 152% in Williston. In the eastern cities Fargo had an increase of over 9% and Grand Forks greater than 8%.

It seems though that the airlines are always making changes that make it difficult for the particular cities to develop a plan to contribute to consistent growth. For example, after having slightly larger increases than Fargo all year at the very end two different airlines at each airport made changes that in the end gave Fargo a ever so slightly larger increase in passengers than Grand Forks. One airline pulled out of Grand Forks and another added seats coming into and leaving Fargo.

The so-called regional airports of Jamestown and Devils Lake continued their downward spiral. Devils Lake is trying to get the certificate transferred from the airline that flies east to one that flies to Denver. I believe they think since Grand Forks lost their Denver flights they will do better going to Denver instead of east. I think they are right. At least I think they need to try. They can’t continue on this years path.

Again, Minot has that slight decrease. As I have said every month I think that is from more seats available in and out of Williston and the end of Minot’s flood flights. I think when we reach that year anniversary of the additional seats we will see that turn around.

We are told that the oil drilling emphasis is moving from the northern part of the Bakken to the southern and comparing the Minot and Dickinson figures by the month to the YTD they seem to support that. Dickinson has the larger percentage increase in the nearby months while Williston has the larger YTD percentage. That tells me traffic has been increasing in the south as the year has been going on.

In any case, commercial airport economics in North Dakota is one of those areas that has really increased as the oil economy has grown. It is one of the real growth areas in our state. Other social and economic areas in those towns are much better than they used to be because of the oil activity. Thanks again Harold Hamm.

 

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