Passenger traffic at the Northwest Regional Airport continues to dip but it’s not unexpected, reports airport manager Carman Hendry of April’s statistics.
April’s regular passenger traffic stood at 17,282, down from 20,219 the month before and down from 20,566 from April 2014.
And when charter passengers are factored in, the April to April decline is approximately 1,000, says Hendry.
“It’s what we had anticipated,” said Hendry in noting that a drop comes as Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat aluminum smelter rebuild begins to wind down.
Virtually all of the charter traffic has come from work crew shift changes at the Rio Tinto Alcan project, he added.
“Our mining traffic has been holding steady and we anticipate an increase now that Northern Thunderbird is about to resume its Miner’s Express flights to Dease Lake,” he said.
Those Dease Lake flights are timed to take advantage of affiliated Hawkair’s service to and from Vancouver, he said.
The opening of the Red Chris copper and gold mine near Iskut will also add to passenger traffic here, Hendry said.
With airlines now adding flights for the summer months, people wishing to travel to and from Vancouver on either Air Canada, Westjet or Hawkair have a choice of more than 10 flights during week days, Hendry said.
Hawkair affiliate Central Mountain also offers service to Calgary via Prince George, Westjet has just added its own Terrace to Calgary service and Air Canada will soon follow. “People should realize we have excellent service from this airport and now they need to support it,” said Hendry.
Passenger traffic has surged in the past years thanks to the Rio Tinto smelter rebuild and the Northwest Transmission Line.