WILLISTON, N.D. - The opening of the Williston Basin International Airport is a little less than five months away, and a groundbreaking at the site is bringing the facility one step closer to completion.

Airport Director Anthony Dudas said the new airport is still well on track for its scheduled opening date of Oct. 10, with construction ramping up once again now that the weather is beginning to cooperate. The site north of town was a bevy of activity the morning of Thursday, May 16, with crews scattered across the area working on the various projects to complete the multi-million dollar facility.

On Thursday, May 16, city leaders, airport staff and employees of Overland Aviation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony for additional facilities on-site, the Overland Aviation Fixed Base Operator and the Customs and Border Protection General Aviation Facility.

“The international aspect of the airport actually is derived from the facility that’s co-located in our terminal,” Tanner Overland, president of Overland Aviation, explained. “So what that means is that we’re able to handle international traffic with the smaller aircraft size.”

Overland said the new 51,000-square-foot facility will include an executive passenger terminal, pilot lounge, a terminal for oil-labor crew change flights, as well as management and rental office spaces. In addition, the heated hangar will be capable of housing large aircraft up to a Gulfstream G650. The facility will work more with the general aviation side of the airport, as opposed to the commercial aviation portion. The facility will provide fuel, maintenance and hangar space for general aviation needs, in addition to providing fuel and maintenance for the commercial flights.

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Ground was broken on Thursday morning, but Overland said construction and preparation for the site has been going for about two weeks. Within the next few weeks, he added, materials will be brought in to begin the large construction. The opening of the facility will coincide with the opening of the airport, Overland said, making it a race against time, and weather, to complete the project.

“Our contractors and our subcontractors are all very aware of the opening date,” he said. “We have quite an aggressive construction schedule, but we’ll be working long hours — Mother Nature permitting — working any and every day that we’re able. We’ve made a lot of progress in the short time that we’ve been working out there.”

Overland said it’s an exciting time to live in Williston, with the new airport bringing “limitless opportunities” to the community, helping to support economic growth for the region and provide enhanced services to its residents.