The primary airport for Newfoundland saw passenger numbers grow by 10 percent during the summer season, making it the busiest summer to date with almost 700,000 passengers travelling through its gates between June and September this year.
By the end of 2014, the airport is expected to have handled approximately 1.6 million passengers, representing another record breaking year in passenger traffic.
Air travel demand has grown significantly over the last five years due to investments made by airlines to add air services to the region - WestJet announced daily flights to commence on June 15, 2014 from St. John’s to Dublin Airport, and introduced additional services to Toronto and Ottawa.
Air Canada’s took up residency at The Queen’s Terminal in June 2014, to help with its year-round offerings to London Heathrow.
St. John’s was among the top three airports in Canada for growth in the number of airline seats available for purchase to travel to and from the region, and the trend is only expected to continue to grow into 2015 with an increase in flight frequencies and destinations scheduled.
2015 will see an extension of the daily service to Dublin, which will begin in early May – six weeks earlier than in 2014. Overall, the airport will receive a 15 percent increase in airline seats available with operators such as Air Transat, Sunwing and WestJet. The increase in frequency regarding Air Canada’s London Heathrow offering will also increase the number of seats available and the number of passengers overall in 2015.
Marie Manning, Director of Marketing and Business Development with St. John’s International Airport Authority said the airport’s air service development strategy has been effective in increasing and improving air services at the airport.
"While we continue to present opportunities to airlines to invest in our region, we have also commenced our 10-year expansion plan. The investments being made in our infrastructure will enable further growth of airline services at our Airport and will support the continued growth of our province,” she said.
In conjunction with the airport’s $243 million expansion plans, future forecasts indicate that the airport will be dealing with close to two million passengers by 2020.
Construction has commenced on doubling the size of the airport terminal building, and the Airport Authority is two-thirds of the way to completing the necessary infrastructure improvements to support the installation of a Category III Instrument Landing System on the airport’s primary runway.
The runway improvements, due to be completed by 2016, will increase the airport’s usability to 99 percent, resting it on par with Canada’s top eight airports, and allowing for further growth in passenger traffic for the future.
In our analysis, below, we look at capacity development from St. John’s over the past ten years with an annual domestic and international split.
The data shows that total departure capacity has grown 14.8 per cent from 887,000 seats in 2005 to over one million seats in 2014. The airport's domestic departure capacity has risen 16.1 per cent during the period, while international departure capacity is up 3.8 per cent, having declined in the intervening years.