Sun destination flights with Sunwing and Air Transat contributed to a jump of 22% in year-over-year traffic in the first quarter of 2016
As passenger numbers continue to rise, the Fredericton International Airport – already operating 75 per cent over capacity – is bursting at the seams.
In the first quarter of 2016, passenger traffic rose 22 per cent over the same period last year. Strong traffic on Air Canada’s flights along with additional WestJet service and three sun charter destinations combined to create double-digit growth each month.
“More than ever, we’re seeing that Fredericton is drawing travellers in from out of the province. Not just visitors and business people flying in to our city, but also Americans driving here to catch flights – we are regularly seeing Maine license plates in our parking lot,” says Johanne Gallant, President and CEO of the Fredericton International Airport Authority (FIAA).
“This is fantastic news for all the businesses located here at the airport, the people they employ, and for the economy of New Brunswick.”
However, the increased traffic does create some challenges, as anyone who’s been here for a flight at peak times knows all too well. Operating 75 per cent beyond capacity means that there is little space to accommodate new air carriers, and security line-ups continue to get longer.
The airport authority is currently planning a terminal expansion to address these issues and provide room for growth. Design is complete, and the airport authority continues to work with the provincial and federal governments to identify funding opportunities.
“The airport authority has been very well managed over the past 15 years, and we’re able to fund one-third of the project ourselves,” says Gallant. “For an airport operating with less than a half-million passengers, that’s phenomenal. We want to continue to create jobs and support our community by continuing to bring in new business, but we do need the support of both levels of government to make this happen.”
In 2011, research by an independent firm determined that 586 jobs in New Brunswick were supported by the Fredericton International Airport, and this number is projected to rise to 1,012 jobs by 2030.
Those same projections indicate that the Fredericton International Airport will be at 500,000 passengers a year by 2030 and contributing $41.5-million to New Brunswick’s GDP.
The Fredericton International Airport serves 350,000 passengers annually and offers direct flights to the major hubs of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Halifax, along with seasonal service to Cancun, Varadero, and Holguin.