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October 28, 2017 12:42 am

Record Passenger Numbers at Prince George Airport But Concerns for 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016 @ 10:39 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  2015  will go in the books as a record  breaking one  when it comes to passenger traffic at  the Prince George Airport,  but,  the slowdown in the economy  is  having an impact.

A record breaking 470,849 passengers used the Prince George Airport (YXS) in 2015; an increase of 5.6% over 2014. While the  Canada Winter Games helped boost  the overall numbers,  ( about 15 thousand passengers arrived or departed)
economic  activity also  boosted  the numbers.   And even with  the Winter Games  activity pulled from the  equation,  YYS   had a very positive year. “We can  pretty well show that for the first  three quarters of the year we tracked about 4% growth in 2015 over 2014” says  Airport President and CEO  John Gibson.

But, and there is a  big ‘but’,  traffic  was down  in the third quarter,   as the  economy started to  slip .  “Probably three quarters of our traffic is business traffic” says Gibson, “We saw it ( business traffic) start to slide in the last  quarter, where we were down about 2.5% .”

Gibson says the concern   heading into 2016  is  that “Will that  traffic down by 2.5% going to continue  though this year,  are we  going to see enough economic growth out of  Site C?  From  our standpoint we see the  engineering traffic  is  down  quite a bit based on what  the engineering companies tell us,  and the construction companies tell us. So we think  we would certainly benefit if we had some real  positive   announcements  in the first quarter of the year.”    Those positive announcements  include  final investment decisions  on LNG and  infrastructure relief from the Federal Government.

Gibson says he’s been working hard, along with some other smaller airports in the country,  to  convince the Federal Government to  invest in  airport  capital projects  “Even though we have been pressing the Federal Government for the last five years for funding support, so far there has been no relief.  In 2015, we spent close to 14 million dollars on capital improvement including repaving runways/taxiways and replacing runway lighting and electrical support systems.”    Gibson says he  is  heading  to Ottawa again next week  for discussions with the Government. “There is more  optimism there because they ( the Liberal Government)  do have a major  infrastructure plan, so  I’m back in Ottawa next week pushing this.”

In the meantime,   Gibson says  announcements  on major  projects would  go a long way to ensuring positive  activity  at YXS “Our business rises and falls on the economy  in North Central B.C., so  we’re not  predicting gloom and doom, but we are  very cautious this  year.”





air traffic is down 25% Time to bump the AIF 50%

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