Another record-setting year for passenger traffic at the Greater Moncton International Airport has its chief executive officer predicting the facility will welcome one million travellers a year by 2024.
Bernard LeBlanc, the new chief executive officer of the Greater Moncton International Airport, says 677,000 passengers went through the facility last year.
"We have more passenger traffic at the greater Moncton airport than all the other New Brunswick airports combined," he says.
LeBlanc says the cold and long winter resulted in more charters to southern destinations. There were 15 charters a week this winter to Florida and the Caribbean.
LeBlanc says if passenger growth continues at the same pace, the airport could see one million passengers a year by 2024.
But it isn't only the passenger numbers that are taking off at the airport.
LeBlanc says cargo traffic was also up at 25,000 tonnes.
New federal fees
The increasing number of passengers and cargo shipments passing through the Moncton airport led the authority to turn a $2 million profit last year.
But that success means the federal government is looking at taking a bigger share of the profits.
"Because we've done so well, the rent calculation is based on revenue so if we generate more revenue we pay more rent." LeBlanc says.
LeBlanc says Moncton has had an exemption because it is one of a handful of Canadian airports that hasn't been required to pay rent until now.
Airports in Canada paid $290 million to the federal government in 2013, according to the Canadian Airports Council.
Next year, LeBlanc says Moncton will join that club.
"We'll pay about half a million dollars in 2016, so it really impacts us quite a bit and just in terms of numbers it's almost $1.50 for each passenger that leaves our airport," he says.
LeBlanc says he wouldn't mind paying the money if the federal government spent more on airports.
He says the Canadian government spends a lot less on airports than the U.S. government. LeBlanc says that makes it more expensive to fly in Canada.