AIRPORTS: Abbotsford opens expansion in time for Christmas

A large baggage belts handles its first arriving passengers on Tuesday. (photo: YXX)

Abbortsford airport, quietly solidifying its role as a regional hub for low-fare carriers, has opened a new baggage hall just in time for the Christmas rush.

The new belt unloaded its first bags Tuesday afternoon, with plenty of room for arriving passengers.

Ultra low-cost carriers Swoop and Flair have made the airport, some 45 minutes east of Vancouver, their main West Coast home, while Westjet pioneered frequent service to Abbotsford from neighbouring Alberta, and continues to serve Calgary from the former military airfield.

The expansion means arriving passengers will have easier access to their bags in a much larger arrivals hall, while departing passengers will shortly have more security screening lines to choose from, and a departure lounge that is double the size of what previously existed.

Abbotsford handled a record 677,653 passengers in 2017. The airport authority expects to handle in the neighbourhood of 830,000 passengers this year, an increase of more than 20 per cent.

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