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On Oct. 10, the new Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) in Williston, North Dakota celebrated its grand opening, replacing the 70-year-old Sloulin Field International Airport (ISN). Owned by the city of Williston, the $270 million all-encompassing project was designed to meet the flying needs of Williston’s current and future travelers and community.

The state of North Dakota, Federal Aviation Administration, and city of Williston collaborated to build an airport that was flexible, right-sized and efficient. XWA was the first new greenfield airport in the U.S. to be built from the ground up within the past nine years.

Williston Airport Director Anthony Dudas said the new airport is a product of planning and teamwork which began in 2010 during the economic boom due to hydraulic fracturing for energy.  The planning process utilized public input from the community, airport users, businesses, federal, state and local leadership to define the region’s air service future and the facilities required to accommodate that growth. 

“The city of Williston developed a robust team of professional service providers to monitor and communicate ongoing construction progress throughout the duration of the airport relocation project,” he said.  “We had five separate engineering firms involved in this project and more than thirty separate prime contracts active at the same time.  It was important to the city that we had an overall program coordinator, Ulteig Engineers, to provide oversight and coordination to all other engineers and contractors.”

The new terminal designed by Alliiance and constructed by JE Dunn features ample seating, a restaurant and lounge, jet bridges and dedicated mother’s care area. While the new terminal is the public show piece for XWA, this project included every aspect necessary for airport operations.