PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. -- Monthly passenger totals at the Northwest Regional Airport (YXT) increased significantly last month, as pandemic restrictions began to loosen around the province.

16,187 passengers flew on a YXT flight in July, compared to 11,306 passengers in June -- an increase of 43 per cent in one month.

Before June, the highest monthly passenger total at the airport so far this year was in March, when 8,719 people boarded a YXT flight.

July's passenger count is also the airport's highest since March 2020, when the airport had 16,234 passengers as large-scale pandemic restrictions began to come into plac.

However, last month's numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, the airport recorded an average monthly passenger total of 24,491 passengers per month.

Likewise, the airport had 26,637 passengers in July 2019 -- over ten-thousand more passengers compared to July of this year.