January Passenger Record Set at Northwest Regional Airport

John Crawford

The Northwest Regional Airport set a new record for passenger numbers for the month of January.

Statistics released by the airport show 19,482 arrivals and departures last month, compared to 15,456 in January of 2018.

The previous record for the month was 17,503, set in 2014.

Airport Manager Carman Hendry says several factors have made the airport busier --- primarily the upswing in the mining industry,  the industrial development in Prince Rupert and the overall growth in the northwest.

But he says the robust numbers in January still caught many people off-guard.

"They're surprising even to us, we didn't expect this to happen so quickly, but we did know it was going to happen;  a 26-per cent increase for this January over last January is phenominal; it's a record high for us for that January, even higher than the one in 2014 -- it's an extra 4,026 passengers over last January's numbers, we're in for a very busy year and for the next couple of years anyway," he said.

"We're anticipating with the work that's coming up with LNG Canada in Kitimat, the numbers will stay strong;  not all the numbers are going to be tied to commercial aircraft like these are for Air Canada Jazz, CMA and WestJet;  a fair number of numbers in the future will be also through charters."

The news is not all positive however.  

WestJet has decided to suspend its service between Terrace and Calgary, effective the end of this month, due to low rider numbers, although Hendry says it may resume this summer.

WestJet had begun offering the service last September.

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