Airport of the Year

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Devils Lake Regional Airport Manager John Nord is delighted that the airport has been named the 2017 Commercial Service Airport of the Year by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission with the Airport Association of North Dakota.

Although he talks about retiring, Devils Lake Regional Airport Manager John Nord isn’t quite ready to clear out of the office he has occupied for just under 10 years. He’s proud of the things he has seen accomplished at the city’s airport, its link to the nation and the world. “We are in good shape here at Devils Lake,” Nord told the Devils Lake Journal Thursday.

“We’ve finished our last major project and everything is going well.” He and members of the Devils Lake Airport Authority received a coveted award at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium held in Fargo earlier this month.

The Devils Lake Regional Airport has received the “2017 Commercial Service Airport of the Year” award. The award is sponsored by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission in partnership with the Airport Association of North Dakota. This award is for excellence in maintaining safety, project management, and community awareness. Eight airports competed for this award. Presenting the award was Matthew Remynse, President of the Airport Association of North Dakota and Kyle Wanner, Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Accepting the award for the Devils Lake Regional Airport included Dennis Olson – Airport Authority Chairman, Rodger Haugen – Airport Authority Member, and Airport Manager John Nord. Accomplishments for 2017 include: In 2017, the Devils Lake airport posted its highest annual passenger count on record with 6,644 enplaned passengers. This was a 5.63 percent increase from 2016, and fourth consecutive annual passenger boarding record for the airport. Through the hard work of the airport’s staff and in collaboration with local civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Forward Devils Lake Economic Development, the airport continues to successfully market Devils Lake as an airline destination.

Throughout 2017, the Devils Lake airport participated in local community outreach events including hosting field trip day to area schools. During their visit to the airport, students learn about airport operations, security and airline job duties. In addition, the airport also hosted a fly-in event which was well received by pilots and the local community. The airport is currently partnering with the Lake Region State College and Camp Grafton’s Training Center to attract businesses in the airport’s planned Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) business park. In addition, the airport was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a testbed for digital authorization to fly UAS vehicles, creating efficiencies for UAS operators. In 2017, the Devils Lake airport also completed a crosswind runway rehabilitation project that will ensure safe and efficient operations at the airport for years to come and construction began for a hanger, which will be completed in 2018.

Nord said they will learn in June if the airport’s funding goes through for Essential Air Service through the Department of Transportation in Washington DC. He had all the paperwork, the proposal including letters of support submitted in time. In fact he pointed out that everything was due in today. Essential Air Service is great for rural North Dakota, Nord said. He also said its been great to partner with Sky West and he hopes it will continue. The people from this area tend to travel to destinations in the west he added.