Pas­sen­ger num­bers soar­ing

July sets new record for num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing Char­lot­te­town Air­port

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY RYAN ROSS Ryan.Ross@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/ryan­r­ross

“To see num­bers like this one year later is cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing, and hope­fully it bodes well for fu­ture sched­ule in­creases as well with our car­ri­ers.” Doug New­son

The num­bers keep getting bet­ter for the Char­lot­te­town Air­port as it hit an­other record for pas­sen­ger traf­fic in July.

Sta­tis­tics from July show 52,754 pas­sen­gers used the air­port last month, which was the most ever in one month.

Char­lot­te­town Air­port Author­ity CEO Doug New­son said the num­bers in June and July were up about 10 per cent com­pared to 2016.

“The sum­mer num­bers were great,” he said.

Over­all, year-to-date traf­fic at the air­port is up four per cent.

New­son said it is a strong year for tourism in P.E.I., and the air­port is ben­e­fit­ing from it.

“We’re cer­tainly pleased to see that extra seats added by Air Canada have been fill­ing up,” he said.

This year Air Canada added big­ger planes, in­clud­ing on the Toronto route, which has in­creased the air­line’s seat ca­pac­ity, New­son said.

Au­gust 2016 set the pre­vi­ous one-month record with 52,101 pas­sen­gers, and New­son said the air­port author­ity thinks Au­gust might sur­pass the new record set in July.

“To see num­bers like this one year later is cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing, and hope­fully it bodes well for fu­ture sched­ule in­creases as well with our car­ri­ers,” he said.

Although the over­all num­bers have been im­prov­ing at the air­port, there will be a change for some Is­landers look­ing to go south this win­ter.

While Air Canada has added ca­pac­ity through the air­port, there will be a change to flights with WestJet this win­ter.

WestJet is ending its non-stop flight from Char­lot­te­town to Or­lando for the 2017-2018 win­ter sched­ule.

A state­ment from WestJet said the air­line bases its ser­vice, in part, on sup­ply and de­mand with reg­u­lar re­views to en­sure it is meeting cus­tomers’ needs while main­tain­ing prof­itable fly­ing.

There wasn’t enough de­mand to main­tain the route, the state­ment said.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate and rec­og­nize that this is un­for­tu­nate news for the com­mu­nity af­fected.”

The state­ment also said pas­sen­gers will have the abil­ity to con­nect to Or­lando through Toronto.

WestJet added the flight to Or­lando from Char­lot­te­town in 2015.

New­son said the Or­lando mar­ket was one the air­port had been go­ing af­ter for a while, but there were fac­tors out of its con­trol, like the dol­lar and the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate in the U.S. that prob­a­bly af­fected book­ings.

“I think it’s dis­ap­point­ing,” he said.

New­son also said it was a unique ser­vice and the Or­lando flights were a small piece of the air­port’s book­ings.

GUARDIAN FILE PHOTO

Doug New­son, Char­lot­te­town Air­port Author­ity CEO

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