NORTHWEST Regional Airport continues to post record passenger numbers with February’s total being the second highest on record.
The 18,092 figure was eclipsed only by December 2013’s total of 18,182.
Combined with the January total, the figure to date for 2014 is 35,595.
That’s more passenger traffic than generated at the airport for the first four months of 2011, the year passenger traffic at the airport began to climb and broach 120,000 for the first time for a calendar year.
Airport manager Carman Hendry attributed the healthy passenger numbers to the increasing amount of industrial activity in the area.
“We’re only looking forward,” said Hendry in sketching out a projected busy year at the airport.
Rio Tinto Alcan is not only extending its work on rebuilding its Kitimat aluminum smelter but has arranged for a converted Baltic Sea ferry, dubbed a ‘flotel,’ to hold 600 construction workers as it ramps up activity.
And if the Northwest Regional Airport here is busy, so are ones in Smithers and at Prince Rupert.
“Across the region, for the 2013 calendar year, passenger traffic increased by 17 per cent. Everyone was up double digits, but we were more so,” said Hendry.
Northwest Regional Airport’s overall share of northwest passenger traffic has also increased.
In 2012 the share was 51 per cent, a figure that climbed to 56 per cent in 2013.
Northwest Regional Airport’s 2011 passenger total was 120,384, climbing to 139,193 in 2012 and 177,294 in 2013.
The ever increasing number of passengers has put a strain on the airport’s parking capabilities.
“Parking is at a premium right now. If you can get a ride, please do so,” said Hendry.
The airport will be expanding its long term lot to handle 800 vehicles, an increase from the 340 spots now available.