Hamilton airport more than doubles its passenger count
More than double the number of passengers flew into and out of Hamilton's airport in the first six months of this year, compared to the first half of 2016, according to data released by the airport Monday.
About 10 per cent of them are coming from Buffalo and upstate New York, according to the airport.
Through June this year, 269,901 passengers flew into and out of the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. That's an increase of 127 per cent from last year, when 118,890 passengers used the airport in the first six months.
The airport released the numbers in advance of a visit Tuesday afternoon from the federal transportation minister, Marc Garneau.
Passenger numbers at Hamilton's airport have long fallen short of expectations, dropping more than 100,000 since 2009. But the new discount airlines, and the bigger carriers trying to compete with them, appear to be turning that trend around.
The airport expects the number of passengers to reach 500,000 by the end of 2017. That would be much higher than passenger totals in the 300,000-350,000 range between 2013 and 2015.
Cargo traffic is up 19 per cent, too, making Hamilton what the airport calls "the centre of goods movement in Canada."
All that traffic has brought more than 100 new jobs to the airport, according to a release.
The airport says the American passengers using the airport from New York state are taking advantage of "low cost travel options and cheaper parking."
The airport said it's investing in some capital upgrades, including a heated covered walkway to get from plane to airport – of note especially for snowbirds coming home from warmer climes.
The airport now hosts flights operated by five passenger carriers: Flair (formerly NewLeaf), Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines.