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Hector International Airport enjoys record year in 2008

FARGO - Fargo Hector International Airport set a record for passenger traffic in 2008.

The airport had 324,434 boardings and 323,703 deboardings last year, for a total of 648,137 passengers.

That topped the 599,168 passengers in 2007 and the previous record of 609,731 passengers in 2006.

High fuel prices encouraged area residents to fly out of Hector last year instead of driving to cities such as Minneapolis and flying from there, said Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of Hector.

Additional flights to and from Fargo in 2008 also increased ridership, he said.

Strong support from local business groups also contributed to Hector's record year, he said.

Hector's ridership may drop off in 2009 because of global economic problems, he said.

"I think it's going to be a little softer. But I think it's still going to be a good year," Dobberstein said.