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Calgary Airport sets a record year with 17 million travelers

Passengers check the departure level at Calgary International Airport on Monday, December 17, 2018. The airport is preparing for some of the most active travel days of the year as Christmas approaches.

Gavin Young / Postmedia

The number of passengers at Calgary International Airport in 2018 increased by more than 6 percent, far exceeding the city's total economic growth over the last 12 months.

Approximately 17.3 million travelers visited an airport in 2018, which is about one million more than in 2017. The 6.6% growth year-on-year is the fastest growth period for YYC since 2014, when Albert's economy flourished. However, the 2018 growth took place at a time when Albert's economy grew by only 2.4 percent, according to RBC Economics, and the Calgary unemployment rate remained high (7.9 percent in December).

Bob Sartors, executive director of the Calgary Airport Authority, borrowed traffic to continue his efforts to make YYC a connecting hub. Approximately 37% of passengers traveling through Calgary International Airport in 2018 were on their way to another destination.

"As a percentage of our total, we are the largest connecting airport in Canada," said Sartors. “This means that if the city can be difficult, people still fly from Regina to Palm Springs or fly from Portland to Tokyo. . . To some extent, our airport is in recession. ”

The new $ 2 billion international terminal opened in YYC in October 2016 has allowed airlines to route more connecting flights through Calgary, Sartor added. The terminal has a number of new technologies and processes aimed at streamlining connections – including improved customs and security procedures, as well as the ability of passengers to cross the airport to other destinations without receiving their bag or re-checking.

A modern runway that was opened in 2014, YYC opened more landing times, Sartor added.

"We've tried to make carriers very attractive to build aircraft here," said Sartors. "Connectivity is the key to a city like us."

The Airport Authority says that freight also grew last year, and 75% of Albert's air cargo is handled through YYC Calgary International Airport.

YYC expects another traffic growth of 1 million additional passengers in 2019. Half of this will be a direct result of the WestJet Boeing 787 aircraft and the Calgary hangar opening as the base of Dreamliner. The airline will start direct flights to London (Gatwick Airport), Paris and Dublin in 2019, and plans to start 737 flights from Calgary to Atlanta in March, as well as the Austin and Portland routes. in spring.

Air Canada now includes direct flights to Palm Springs, California, while Aeromexico plans to return to YYC in May with seasonal services four times a week to Mexico City.

"We are in a category where in a few years we will consider a large North American airport," said Sartors.

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