Airport numbers climb, again

Airport officials say the continued increase in industry work is behind high passengers numbers for the month of July

Passenger statistics at the airport are up once again, with the total number of passengers for July marking the seventh consecutive month with traffic numbers higher than last year.

While there was a slight dip in June, resulting in about 200 fewer passengers than there were this past May, July’s total was 12,682 – up from 11,229 in 2011 at the Northwest Regional Airport.

The total number of passengers that came through the airport this year is 77,230, already higher than the January to June 2011 total of 65,758.

“Our calendar year is up 17 per cent from last year,” said airport manager Carman Hendry. “And our fiscal year – which runs April through March – is up 17 per cent as well.”

Airport officials are chalking this up to increased industrial activity in the area, according to Hendry, who cited the Kitimat Moderization Project, Apache work, the Northwest Transmission Line, and mining up north as projects bringing workers to the area.

While Hawkair and Air Canada jazz have both added an extra flight this year, he said, the airport itself hasn’t made any major changes to operations aside from expanding the long-term parking lot.

“We now have about 90 stalls,” he said.

“We’re still looking for funding to increase the size of our apron (aircraft parking) for future expansion,” he added.

There were three flights missed in July, more than any other month this year. These were mechanical issues with planes in Vancouver, explained Hendry.