Six months from this week, the first passengers will be using Williston’s new airport.
The new Williston Basin International Airport, or XWA, is scheduled to open October 10th.
Jim Olson was there this week to show us how the facility is taking shape.
It’s looking like a real airport terminal these days.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “We’re right on the front loop road. It’ll come from right to left and we’re walking into the departure vestibule where passengers get dropped off.”
From the front door to the wide open ticketing space, to the escalator and elevator, to the baggage carousel area, rental car facilities, wide open TSA checkpoint area, restaurant, Airport Director Anthony Dudas can’t wait for the first customers to arrive.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “Really the accommodations you should expect when you’re flying out of a modern facility.”
But with just six months until the scheduled opening, this massive site will be a beehive of activity between now and October.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “We have about 150 people every day in this facility alone right now. It’s getting really busy, a lot of work is getting done.
We have over 20 prime contractors on the 1600 acre site as we commence full summer construction over the next few weeks.”
And while there’s much work to complete, Dudas can already point to a lot of progress – the building is about 98% enclosed and there’s fit and finish work going on – drywall going up and paint being applied. He points out the spot where a children’s play area is coming, where a mother’s nursing room will be located, and the long stretch of windows looking out on the oil-rich farmland that surrounds the terminal.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “We’ll have lounge-type seating for the passengers so they can relax, have their food from the restaurant, and relax before traveling.”
Right now, those windows reveal the beginnings of taxiways and runways. While all around, workers tackle job after job, and city officials keep close watch.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “We have to make sure we’re monitoring our progress and moving forward to make sure we can meet those critical dates and milestones.”
All with one goal in sight. Getting the new XWA off the ground in six months.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “It is a great front door to our community.”
In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.
The new Williston Basin International Airport is much larger than the current airport – and it’s being built to handle future growth in passenger numbers.
Manager Anthony Dudas says that ‘growth’ is something he and city council member Chris Brostuen have been working on in recent months.
Dudas says the hope is to attract another airline to serve Williston.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Manager) “Like an Allegiant or a Sun Country that do weekly trips to Las Vegas and Phoenix and potentially Florida. And there’s additional potential on other air carriers and we’re continuing to have those conversations.”
The manager says he’s optimistic the talks could lead to more options for travelers in Williston – but there are no signed contracts yet.