85 days from today, a brand new airport is scheduled to open northwest of Williston.
XWA – or the Williston Basin International Airport – is racing toward the finish line to bring a new era of aviation of western North Dakota.
Jim Olson was there today to check on the progress.
(Jim Olson, KX News) “With a newly paved road leading to a gleaming new terminal, things are looking good here at XWA, but the question remains, is it going to be ready to open just three months from now?”
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “October 10th, we still feel very good about October 10th.”
That’s not to say it’s not going to be a busy 86 days at the site of Williston’s new airport. In fact, even with 330 workers on site every day – including over 100 inside the terminal alone – the level of activity is about to pick up.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “We have all of the really major specialized equipment that’s going to be coming on-site in the two to three weeks including elevators, escalators, the passenger boarding bridges, all the baggage handling systems….”
One piece of critical work that was interrupted last month is creating runways and other paved areas where commercial aircraft will travel. Here on the main runway, major strides have been made after a shortage of cement stopped work for more than a week.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “We’ve found that with the amount of cement that’s being delivered we’re able to meet the production that we need, not what we anticipated, but it is what we need.”
And this work has to be finished before long, because the FAA will be here soon, making sure the airport has met a key milestone.
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “The FAA has to come in and they actually fly the different approaches into the different runways.”
That’s happening in August – as is the installation of escalators, passenger boarding bridges, baggage handling systems…
(Anthony Dudas, Williston Airport Director) “There are a lot of things coming together at the same time.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) “And so admittedly there’s still a lot of work to do here to get things ready, but officials say they’re confident that come October 10th, flights will be going in and out of this brand new facility. In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.”
We’re told this is only the 4th time in 40 years that a U.S. airport has physically moved to a new location.
And Director Anthony Dudas says it’s the fastest such move since World War Two.