Flying high: Airport sees record passenger load in 2013
Published Thursday, January 16, 2014 3:41PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:51PM EST
More passengers than ever before traveled through the Region of Waterloo International Airport in 2013.
Airport officials say they saw a total of 138,733 passengers over the course of the year – up 15 per cent from 2012, which was the previous top year.
“We had a great year. We’re pretty pleased, and pretty excited with what 2014’s going to bring,” airport general manager Chris Wood tells CTV News.
The airport also recorded nearly 107,000 aircraft movements in 2013 – its highest total in 10 years.
Some of those numbers can be chalked up to flights from Nolinor, which began shuttling mining employees between Waterloo Region and Nunavut last fall, and American Airlines, which Wood says has seen a steady increase in business since it started flying to and from Chicago in 2012.
While the Region of Waterloo promised to pay American Airlines if passenger load targets weren’t met, Wood says that’s no longer a concern – and the airport is making a “little bit” of money on the service.
“We are confident that American is here for a long time,” he says.
Daily passenger flights from the airport currently connect it with Calgary, Chicago, Ottawa and Cancun, Mexico.
Whether airport officials should look to expand that range of offerings is something that will be discussed this year, as the airport embarks on a master plan process.
Four options are being considered for the master plan – everything from maintaining the status quo to accepting flights that are looking for an alternative to Toronto’s busy Pearson International Airport.
Wood calls that last option a “massive undertaking”, but one that’s not impossible.
Kevin Looby, a Cambridge resident who regularly flies to and from the airport for business, says he’s a big fan of close-to-home air travel.
“It was seven minutes from my front door to the other side of security,” he says.
“Compared to Toronto, that’s a pleasing experience.”
Looby would like to see more flights added to the airport’s schedule – which, he says, would make him and others more frequent local flyers.
The first public input session on the airport’s master plan is Feb. 6, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Waterloo Regional Museum.