2016 was another impressive year for passenger numbers for the Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA), with more than 462,000 people arriving and departing.
With the Canada Winter Games and a stronger economy, 2015 was a tough year to follow… but the airport exceeded expectations by 1.5%. It also beat 2014 passenger numbers by 3.5%.
Passenger traffic was at its highest during the month of November, which saw an 8% increase compared to the same month in 2015 .
“There is cautious optimism in the economy,” says the President and CEO of the PGAA, John Gibson. “We are economy driven, if there isn’t the Winter Games or some big event like that. So I think people are cautiously optimistic, still spending money on travel. Businesses are still traveling.”
It’s not just business travel driving passenger numbers, many are traveling for leisure. Carlson Wagonlit Travel saw more people vacationing in 2016 compared to the past few years. “A lot of popular destinations are Puerta Vallarta because we have a direct flight,” says the Owner and Manager, Karren Moore. “Cancun is still a popular destination because you can get there and back in one day. There’s still quite a bit of Cuba.”
Many are also widening their horizons. “We had quite a bit of Europe this last while,” says Moore. “A lot of England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy.”
However, the PGAA isn’t expecting too much growth in passenger numbers for 2017. “Expecting it to be pretty flat this year,” says Gibson, “but we got surprised already by Central Mountain Air adding 5 flights to Dawson a week already.”
Gibson is hoping for some major projects in Northern BC. He says passenger numbers are based on the economy. “Lindsay and I are going to talk to WestJet and Air Canada and charter carriers in February to see what plans are going forward and try to sell, sell, sell on destinations.”