PASSENGER traffic at the Northwest Regional Airport continues to grow, with January’s total being more than 70 per cent greater than January 2013, reports manager Carman Hendry.
And there’s no sign things are going to slow down, says Hendry in commenting on the 17,503 passenger total for January.
“Everyone’s busy. The airport’s a busy place. The airlines are doing well and there’s lots of traffic,” he said.
By way of comparison, January 2013’s total was 9,816 and January 2012’s total was 8,916.
Even having 14 missed flights in January because of weather and three for other reasons didn’t dent passenger growth.
“The passengers affected are accommodated on other flights by the airlines,” said Hendry.
Helping increase passenger numbers was the arrival the end of last November of WestJet with twice daily service to and from Vancouver.
Both it and Air Canada have very early departures from Terrace and late evening arrivals from Vancouver, considered a benefit for business travellers.
Traditionally, January has one of the lower passenger totals of the year.
As it is, 2013 set a passenger record with a count of 177,294, substantially more than the 139,193 passenger count in 2012 and the 120,384 passenger count in 2011.
The passenger count is based on regularly scheduled flights and does not include charters.
But the airport began tracking charter numbers as a separate tally last June and in the last half of 2013, the charter passenger number was 1,611, said Hendry. In January, the charter passenger tally was 350.
The rising number of passengers has resulted in the airport continuing to increase its long-term parking lot area.
“At Christmas, we had 581 vehicles in our lots. Obviously we need to expand,” said Hendry.
Fortunately, said Hendry, it has been a low snowfall year so an area the airport would normally use to pile snow could be used for parking instead.
Last year, the airport doubled its long-term parking area to 340 vehicles and the expansion now underway should result in a total of 800 parking spots.
The parking area right at the terminal building has about 70 spaces and is meant for hourly parking, said Hendry.