Record numbers of travellers at Canadian airports

Ottawa International Airport recorded more than 5 million passengers for the first time in 2018. (photo: Ottawa Airport Authority via Instagram)

It’s turning out to be a record-setting year as airports across Canada release their year-end passenger counts

Ottawa reported Friday that its passenger counts topped 5 million for the first time, to reach 5,110,801, up 5.6 per cent from the previous year.

“Five million passengers is an important milestone for the Ottawa International Airport, and for the City of Ottawa, said Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority in a statement. “The distinction puts YOW in the next class of airport in terms of size, but more importantly, confirms that the local economy is doing well.”

The airport authority says growth was led by domestic increases, along with increased daytime frequencies to the United States and strong growth overseas.

Ottawa joined other airports that set records in 2018, including Vancouver, Toronto (which both have yet to report final tallies), and Abbotsford, British Columbia, that welcomed more than 800-thousand passengers for the first time, thanks to growth among ultra low-cost carriers.

Despite a sluggish economy and hard times in the oil industry, Edmonton’s passenger numbers have picked up substantially since bottoming out in 2016, setting a new high water mark in 2018.

Edmonton International welcomed 8.2 million passengers last year, led by a surge in travellers to the United States (up 9.9 per cent), and within Canada (up 6.3 per cent), though the airport reports passengers passing through the terminal and other operators separately.

Airport

(sources: airport reports)
Passengers handled (2018)

* = new record
Abbotsford, B.C.842,212*
Calgary17,343,402*
Charlottetown, P.E.I.370,730*
Edmonton8,254,212*
Fredericton, N.B.423,234*
Halifax4,316,079*
Hamilton725,630
Kamloops, B.C.351,631*
Kelowna, B.C.2,080,372*
Moncton, N.B.681,473*
Montreal-Trudeau19,425,588*
Nanaimo, B.C.435,394
Ottawa5,111,801*
Prince George, B.C.506,486
Quebec City1,774,841*
Saskatoon1,518,980*
Thunder Bay869,404*
Toronto-Pearson49,507,418*
Vancouver25,936,907*
Victoria2,048,627*
Winnipeg4,486,500* (estimate)

NAV CANADA, which operates the country’s air traffic control system, says air traffic increased 5.1 per cent last year, the fifth straight year of growth.

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