DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — The airport in Devils Lake is seeing a record number of passengers this year, but with federal aid tied to boarding numbers, the airport’s leader would like to see many more people at the facility.

The airport in this community of about 7,200 people is on track to hit 6,500 boardings, the Devils Lake Journal ( ) reported. Airport manager John Nord wants that number to increase by 3,500.

The facility currently gets $150,000 a year in federal funds for improvement projects, but the assistance would jump to $1 million if the airport hits 10,000 boardings.

Nord says the current yearly federal funds don’t “go that far on projects, but once I get to the 10,000 number, I get $1 million a year,” he said. “It’s really important to get up to that number.”

Nord said the airport’s crosswind runway is in dire need of being milled and resurfaced. That project would cost around $2 million. In addition, the state-of-the-art snow removal machine that Nord would like to purchase costs $750,000.

“We’re under a crunch in a snowstorm,” Nord said. “We have commercial flights, we have (limited) time to get the runway opened up, and if we don’t have the equipment to do it, it isn’t a good situation.”

Nord said that before 2016, the airport had never seen more than 600 boardings in a given month. In February, however, it saw 612 boardings, up from 307 in 2015.

“We’re doing good, we just encourage everybody to take a look at us,” he said. “Use Devils Lake Airport.”

Information from: Devils Lake Journal,