A Delta Connection flight operated by SkyWest Airlines christened the new Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) in northwestern North Dakota. But the Delta flight wasn’t supposed to be the first commercial flight touching down at the airport.
KFYR reports a United Express flight from Denver was originally scheduled to land first on the airport’s runway. But a delay pushed its arrival behind and SkyWest 4007 from Minneapolis-St.Paul received the honor.
The CRJ was piloted by Williston native Elliott Monson, who adjusted his schedule so he had a chance to score the flight. He told KFYR, “It’s an incredible opportunity. It’s truly humbling to be able to do that. Unfortunate for the United flight coming in, but it was great that we could beat them to get in here first.”
Interestingly enough, XWA is under a Delta travel weather waiver through Friday. Nicknamed “Boomtown, USA,” Williston is a small town that benefited greatly from a major oil boom. But when oil prices dropped, many people lost their jobs or left the area.
According to XWA’s website, the airport was built because Sloulin Field — the region’s other airport — no longer met FAA guidelines for commercial or larger private jets.
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