Devils Lake Regional Airport ready to set sights on expansion

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Although summer travel might soon be transitioning into fall business, Devils Lake Regional Airport is only getting started. 

More than $2 million was awarded to Devils Lake Regional Airport in late August as reimbursements for project costs for terminal expansion.

If anything, the airport – located 1.5 miles west of U.S. Highway 2 on Highway 19 – will begin to show signs of increased traffic. But not solely from the typical 500+ airport boardings per month. Expansion efforts will also be an adding factor. 

As airport manager of Devils Lake Regional Airport, Scott Cruse saw the importance of funding coming from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, $10 billion in funds was awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

More than $2 million was awarded to Devils Lake Regional Airport in late August as reimbursements for project costs for terminal expansion.  

“It’s an expansion project,” Cruse said. “We were awarded $16.8 million in CARES Act monies. And of that…we actually had a few projects planned, but as costs have been escalating, we’ve had to cut back on some of our projects, and it looks like our priority one is going to be the terminal right now with an expansion bridge or a boarding bridge, and the expansion is going to be a substantial project.”

Despite having to put other projects on the back burner – including adding snow removal equipment, enhancing storage and improving the runway and parking lot – the expansion project will double the airport’s size by nearly double the current square footage. 

“It’s just going to be more, for lack of a better way of saying it, more comfortable,” Devils Lake Regional Airport Authority Chairman Dennis Olson said. “More modern.”

New amenities from the expansion project plan include an indoor luggage carousel, lounge area, vending area and changing facilities. With an estimated construction time of 504 days, the airport will be looking to open bids starting on Sept. 29. 

An estimated completion date is tentatively scheduled for 2024 in late March to early April. 

“I just think this is a wonderful addition for the community,” Olson said. “The community has started to fly out more and more often than they used to. We used to get a lot of passengers from around the area, and a lot of people in town would go to Grand Forks, Fargo or even Minot to fly. We’re picking up a lot of those customers just because the airline we have has been reliable to jet to Jamestown, Devils Lake [and] Denver.”

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com), Instagram (johnbcranesports) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.