Indications piled up Friday that Canadian aviation enjoyed a banner year in 2018, as two more airports reported record passenger numbers.
Though they have yet to report passenger numbers, all indications are that Canada’s hub airports – Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary – would set records last year, and evidence suggests that increase in has also touched secondary airports. On Friday, Winnipeg and Fredericton reported record passenger totals.
Winnipeg surpassed 4.5 million passengers for the first time in 2018, led by significant growth to the United States and overseas, and growth on flights within Canada. Overall, passenger traffic was up 4.2% over the previous year – the fifth straight year of growth at the airport. Passenger numbers were helped by the arrival of ultra low-cost carriers Flair Airlines and Swoop during the year.
“Another record year is just further proof that our plan is working and the world recognizes the continued rejuvenation of our city and province,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority in a statement. “WAA remains committed to meeting the needs of business and unlocking the potential of the airport for the benefit of the community.”
The airport also reported a surge in cargo handled in 2018, with tonnage increasing 5% over the previous year, led by exports to the United States.
Farther east, the airport authority in Fredericton, New Brunswick reported surpassing 400,000 passengers for the first time. In all, passenger volumes increased seven per cent at the airport, to 423,324 passengers, the vast majority on domestic flights.
“We are so pleased to surpass 400,000 passengers,” said Johanne Gallant, Fredericton International Airport Authority President and CEO. “It is a testament to the confidence that air carriers have in our market – as they’ve added capacity our community has responded by travelling more. It has been an exciting year and we’d like to thank our air carrier partners and travellers.”
Edmonton and Abbotsford, British Columbia have already reported record numbers of passengers, led by the rise of ultra low-cost carriers, and Ottawa, which was not served by either Flair or Swoop in 2018, surpassed 5 million passengers for the first time.