Traffic at St. John's airport up, up and away

Kerri Breen
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The St. John's International Airport is flying high above the national passenger traffic growth average.It's leading the country with an 8.5 per cent traffic increase for the first six months of 2010, compared to 2.8 per cent reported by the Top 32 Canadian airports.The month of June was the busiest June on record for the airport, with 125,514 passengers travelling though its gates.

That's an increase of more than 11 per cent over June of last year.

Keith Collins, president and CEO of the St. John's International Airport Authority, said the rise in passengers is due to increased business and leisure travel, and new flights and carriers.

"It speaks very well to the strength of the economy in the province overall, but in particular in the Avalon region," he said.

He also mentioned the positive effects of a strong convention season and the Juno awards, which were held in St. John's in April.

Seat capacity has increased 10 per cent over the last year due to new carriers and increased flights.

Those additions include four daily Porter Airlines flights to Halifax and beyond; the introduction of a new Air Canada daily direct flight to Goose Bay; the reinstatement of the Air Canada London Heathrow flight for the summer season; and the extension of the Air Canada direct service to Ottawa from a seasonal to a year-round service.

"We now have more choice both in terms of routes but also in terms of choice between airlines," Collins said.

Collins also attributes the popularity of air travel to the lack of other options, especially for business travellers.

St. John's International Airport was one of only six airports in Canada that experienced an increase in passenger traffic in 2009.

Passenger volumes at St. John's International have increased by 80 per cent since it was privatized in 1998.

Collins expects the pattern of growth to continue.

Organizations: Air Canada, International Airport Authority

Geographic location: St. John's, Avalon, Halifax Goose Bay Ottawa Canada

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