The coronavirus outbreak is crippling the airline industry, and in Bismarck it’s no exception.
Bismarck Airport officials say on a normal day they have 850 passengers board a plane.
Monday, that number was just 34.
Tuesday it was 97.
The airlines have also slashed the number of flights departing the capital city on a daily basis to just six, down from an average of 16 to 18.
Passenger traffic was down about 50% compared to March of 2019.
Early projections show the airport could lose as much as $1.5 million in revenue over the next three months if things stay this way.
“As this thing has gone on they’ve just cut back more and more and more everyday because they’re flying empty planes. They were flying planes with five, seven, two people on board. There was more crew than passengers on some of the flights. You have four crew and two passengers, I mean they can’t keep flying that, they’re just hemorrhaging money,” said Bismarck Airport Director Greg Haug.
He adds a seasonal flight to Denver offered by Frontier Airlines that was supposed to start soon has now been pushed back to May 1.
The good news is all airport employees are considered essential, so no one has been laid off.