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BUSINESS: Northwest moves up late flight

Starting April 8, Northwest Airlines will move up two of its arrivals from Minneapolis, allowing travelers to get into Grand Forks earlier. Northwest's second-to-last arrival of the day in Grand Forks soon will leave Minneapolis at 8:15 p.m. and ...

Starting April 8, Northwest Airlines will move up two of its arrivals from Minneapolis, allowing travelers to get into Grand Forks earlier.

Northwest's second-to-last arrival of the day in Grand Forks soon will leave Minneapolis at 8:15 p.m. and arrive in Grand Forks at 9:25 p.m., according to Northwest's Web site. The flight now leaves Minneapolis at 9:40 p.m. and arrives in Grand Forks about 10:50 p.m.

Hal Gershman, City Council president and a member of the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority board of commissioners, hopes the change will lead to 500 to 1,000 more boardings a year at the airport and cut down on locals driving to Fargo to fly to Minneapolis in order to get home sooner at night.

The change will reduce an almost seven-hour gap between afternoon and late-night arrivals at the airport, currently from about 4:10 p.m. to about 10:50 p.m.

But while moving up the second-to-last arrival of the day, Northwest also moved up its previous flight, which in April will start departing Minneapolis at 2:20 p.m. and arrive in Grand Forks at 3:33 p.m., creating a gap in arrivals from 3:33 p.m. to 9:25 p.m.

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Northwest's final arrival of the day in Grand Forks also was moved up about 15 minutes, leaving Minneapolis at 10:15 p.m. and arriving in Grand Forks at 11:24 p.m.

Grand Forks International Airport is served by five round-trip Northwest flights a day to and from Minneapolis, with some of the flights operated by Mesaba Airlines and Pinnacle Airlines.

Steve Johnson, executive director of the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority, said Northwest adjusts flight schedules every quarter and sometimes as often as once a month.

Although the exact times of the airport's five round-trip daily Northwest flights to and from Minneapolis change from time to time, Johnson said recently that he does not expect the number of daily Northwest flights to change anytime soon.

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