With growth returning to Canada’s airports, can a more widespread economic recovery be far behind?
It’s generally accepted that airlines are a leading indicator of economic health. When things are going badly, the airlines cut back first; when they’re going well, people start flying in greater numbers.
It’s clear, then, that boom-times are coming back to Alberta.
Edmonton International Airport reported its latest passenger figures, Thursday, and the numbers show that growth is back.
Overall, more than 573,000 people passed through the terminal in March, making it the best month of March ever.
Another record was set in passengers travelling to and from the United States at 116,969. That is the best month of U.S. traffic ever recorded.
(There were 401,803 domestic and 54,474 international passengers in March.)
So far in 2012, 1,634,636 passengers have passed through the terminal, 5.7 per cent more than 2011.
Other airports report passenger numbers at different times, but so far this year, the trend is repeated elsewhere. In February, Calgary International Airport reported that overall passenger numbers were 6.8 per cent ahead of last year.
And yet, it’s obvious the airlines are hesitant to go signing “Good times are here again!” Air Canada has been in labour disputes with pilots and behind-the-scenes workers. And though Westjet has announced a few new flights to Calgary and Vancouver, Edmonton has yet to see any major announcement.
Even American airlines are hesitant. While United recently launched a second daily flight between Edmonton and Houston, that’s it.
Evidently, growth does not mean new service or routes.