Cardon Global Opens $273M Williston Basin International Airport in North Dakota
WILLISTON, N.D. — Cardon Global has opened the Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) in Williston, located approximately 215 miles northwest of Bismarck. Development costs were estimated to be $273 million.
The 100,000-square-foot airport includes four gates and three passenger boarding bridges as well as a 50-seat bar and restaurant. XWA is the first ground-up commercial airport built in the Midwest since the 1940s, according to the developer.
“Prior to the completion of XWA airport, the region was lacking the capacity, ease and essential airport amenities necessary to inspire travelers flying in and out of Williston,” says Don Cardon, CEO of Cardon Global. “In designing a vision for the airport to serve the region for decades to come, we’ve collectively tried to anticipate the needs of today’s travelers. That means providing an amazing mix of amenities, access, comfort and enjoyment to make the process of air travel much more enjoyable and productive moving forward.”
The airport is functionally replacing Williston’s now decommissioned Sloulin Field International Airport, which was built in 1947. Forbes reports that Sloulin Field accommodated about 148,000 passengers, down from about 240,000 in 2014. Those numbers are up from 22,000 in 2009. So far, 2019 has seen a 22 percent increase in traffic from 2018.
XWA airport is almost 10 times the size of Sloulin Field and exhibits comparatively safer and more modern design guidelines. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines will each service the airport with a new 76-seat ERJ-175 and a 70-seat CRJ-700 respectively.
“Transportation is a vital part of economic development, and XWA airport is the next step towards ensuring northwest North Dakota continues to grow and thrive,” says Williston Mayor Howard Klug. “Williston’s booming oil and energy industries have contributed to the increase in opportunities here, resulting in a strong economy that has brought a lot of people to the region. I have no doubt that XWA airport will continue to drive traffic and generate business for the region.”
The City of Williston selected Cardon Global to begin development of the airport in 2015, and the developer is now contributing to a 10-year strategic economic plan for the city called “Williston Reimagined.” Ulteig Engineering and AE2S oversaw the ground-up construction of the project.
— Alex Patton