Not so tiny, after all: Traffic numbers break records in 2013

2013-by-the-numbersIf you’re one of those people who thinks of the Fredericton International Airport as “tiny,” this might surprise you: In the month of August 2013, YFC saw an average of over 1,000 passengers each and every day, breaking the record for the busiest month our airport has ever had.

It wasn’t just August, either. In 2013, the Fredericton International Airport handled a record 297,867 enplaned and deplaned passengers. That’s about 15,000 more than in 2012—a 5.42 per cent increase.

In the twelve years since the Fredericton International Airport Authority (FIAA) took over operations of the airport from the federal government, we’ve grown traffic by almost 50 per cent (up from just 201,620 passengers in 2002, our first full year of operation).

A stronger economy

We get excited about increased traffic. Sure, we get excited because it shows that we’re doing our jobs well, but also because we love helping the Fredericton region’s economy grow and diversify.

The airport alone saw 15 new full-time jobs and 4 new part-time jobs created in 2013 (at FIAA and our tenants), but the economic spinoff reaches a lot further than direct employment numbers. Back in 2011, an independent consulting firm pegged the total economic output of the airport at that time at $60 million.

Yes, million.

Improved air service

Passengers departing at the Fredericton International Airport

2013 saw record traffic at the Fredericton International Airport

More traffic through the airport also means it’s easier for the airport authority to make a case to airlines that the Fredericton region is a safe bet for new routes, increased capacity on existing routes, or new carriers (like WestJet Encore). Our community has been asking for more air service options, and we want to make that a reality.

Improved air service will also give Fredericton increased capacity to bring tourists, business people, convention attendees, and other travellers into our region.

And those people spend money while they’re here.

That’s good news for our local retail businesses, hotels, attractions, and restaurants, and the people who work in them.

Planning for the future

Accommodating that extra traffic and ensuring that future visitors to our region have a terrific first impression requires planning ahead, though. Our terminal was designed to handle about 200,000 passengers a year, and (to quote our CEO, David Innes) “it’s getting a bit crowded” at the current traffic levels.

If you’ve been here at 5:30am, standing in the security screening lineup, you know what we’re talking about.

The next step, then, is a terminal expansion aimed not just at addressing the current congestion but accommodating the increased traffic numbers expected over the next 20 years.

We’re pretty excited about meeting that challenge, too.