Monday, January 22, 2018

Increased usage; major renovations mark Northwest aviation notes for new year

Despite the completion of some major industrial projects in the Terrace/Kitimat  area
and reduce travel to and from those communities, the Terrace/Kitimat airport
continues to find strong passenger levels in the Northwest

(Photo of Terrace airport from NDIT website)

Updates on air travel through Northwest airports and the progress of two major renovation projects in the region have set the scene for the aviation sector as we move towards February.

In Terrace, airport officials at the Terrace-Kitimat airport released the passenger count for 2017 and made note of some slight increases for the year ahead.

The 2017 passenger count for YXT recorded 224,144 passengers, up about 6,000 from the 2016 totals.

Such has been the steady uptick in usage for the airport that officials embarked on an expansion project starting in 2016, an overhaul of the old terminal building which after falling behind schedule, is now heading towards the home stretch, a major infrastructure investment that will provide for additional capacity for the Terminal building.

With mining and tourism two key elements for the Bulkley Valley economy, Smithers is also in the midst of a major renovation for their air terminal, providing for a key transportation link for residents and visitors in the area, As they move forward with the project, community officials are hopeful that their extensive work on the terminal will bring larger traffic numbers once it has been completed and is in operation.

Further to the east, those from the Northwest that make use of the Prince George airport helped boost that air terminals numbers by eight percent, with some of that surge in volume attributed to flight movements through the summer period at the height of the wildfire season in the Central Interior.

The 2017 numbers show a steady increase for Northern BC's largest airport, with passengers numbers which have delivered over 100,000 additional passengers from the statistical overview of seven years ago.

On the North Coast, the City of Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert Airport Authority have yet to release the passenger level numbers from the last year for the Digby Island airport.

As we noted in December, that facility is now under the watchful eye of a new airport manager, with Richard Leach having taking up his duties in late 2017.

So far, since his arrival, City Council has yet to invite the new Airport Manager to Council Chambers to provide a presentation on any new developments from the City's air gateway.

Something which would also provide the new Manger an opportunity to introduce himself to the community and to offer up a view of what may be in the future for the Digby Island facility.

For a wider overview of aviation notes across the Northwest see our archive page here.

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