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Grand Forks airport set single-day passenger record before UND's Vegas game

Thursday’s numbers coincide with UND hockey fans attending Hall of Fame game in Las Vegas

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Grand Forks International Airport personnel tend to an Allegiant Airbus A320 bound for Las Vegas on Sept. 2, 2021. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks International Airport processed 1,524 passengers last Thursday, a single-day record according to Executive Director Ryan Riesinger.

The figure, derived from the number of passengers processed through the airport’s TSA checkpoint, coincided with a substantial increase in flights to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, where many UND hockey fans traveled to attend the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game against Arizona State.

“We had seven direct flights to Las Vegas on Thursday, and one additional flight on Friday,” said Riesinger. “Four of these flights were flown by Allegiant Airlines, and four were flown by Sun Country Airlines on a charter basis.”

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Thursday’s numbers beat the airport’s previous record set on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, when UND hockey fans traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for the Hall of Fame game against Penn State.

Riesinger stressed that these numbers are a substantial aberration from the norm.

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“There are typically 400 passenger seats available on an average day,” said Riesinger. “This includes three non-stop flights to Minneapolis-St. Paul on Delta, and two weekly flights on Allegiant to both Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa.”

Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of Hector International Airport in Fargo, said although Thursday’s passenger numbers were in line with averages, staff noticed a large number of UND fans traveling to and from Las Vegas.

“Our Allegiant flight to Las Vegas is usually full anyways,” said Dobberstein. “However, we noticed lots of UND fans arriving on flights with other airlines such as Delta, United and American. There are many options for one-stop connections to Las Vegas, including transiting through Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas and Denver.”

UND will host the Providence Friars at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in their next Hall of Fame game, slated for 2024, the Herald previously reported.

Banish covers news pertaining to K-12 and higher education, as well as county commission coverage.
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