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United Airlines bailing on Grand Forks

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 12, 2013 - 1:18 PM

United Airlines on Thursday said it will discontinue service to Grand Forks International Airport. The last flight out of the eastern North Dakota airport will be Dec. 3, an airline spokeswoman said.

United has only been serving Grand Forks since last October. It operates one to two flights a day between Grand Forks and its Denver hub using 50-seat regional jets. But financial performance did not meet United's expectations, said spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm.

Passengers with tickets for flights after Dec. 3 will be rebooked on other airlines or given a refund, she said.

Patrick Dame, executive director of the Grand Forks Airport, called the move "unfortunate," but said the airport will move forward.

"You put in a lot of market research to bring a good route to the community, and sometimes things happen," Dame said. "This is one small set back, but we continue to grow."

The airport is on an upswing. Over the past five years, the number of passengers boarding flights in Grand Forks has jumped from 87,000 in 2008 to more than 100,000.  The airport is on pace to set a record with 150,000 boardings this year, Dame said.

With United's departure, Grand Forks is left with two carriers. Delta provides service five to six times a day to the Twin Cities. Allegiant Air provides service twice a week to Orlando, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

United still provides nonstop service from Denver to Bismarck, Dickinson, Minot, Williston and Fargo, and from Chicago to Fargo.

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