New Paris and Glasgow flights test Halifax airport
Halifax Stanfield International Airport saw a dip in passenger traffic last year
People travelling from Halifax to Europe will have more options this summer with the introduction of a Glasgow to Paris flight.
The French airline Europe Airpost is offering a two-month trial flight from Halifax to Scotland and then on to Paris.
Airpost bills it as a direct flight because passengers to Paris stay on the same plane during a 50 minute wait in Glasgow.
A round trip starts at $860.
It’s another seasonal option for flights out of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Atlantic Canada’s busiest airport, which already offers non-stop flights to London, Reykjavik and Frankfurt during the summer months.
Halifax International Airport Authority spokesman Peter Spurway says the airport is doing well for its size.
"We have a natural advantage because of our geography. We have a fairly nice catchment area and we don't have any airports nearby competing with us. We take that quasi-monopoly seriously,” he said.
The authority saw a dip in passenger traffic in 2013. There were about 20,000 fewer visitors than in 2012. However, total revenues jumped to $87.1-million in 2013, up from $79.3-million the year before,
“The airline industry is a cyclical industry and air travel depends on a number of factors. Weather is a good one. We’re just coming off of a pretty rough winter. And also the global economy, when the economy goes up and people have disposable income they’re more inclined to fly and to travel,” said Spurway.
“The weather and the global economy we haven't quite wrestled those to the ground yet. To a degree we’re at their mercy.”
Travel industry in 'flux'
Despite that, Spurway says the airport is always looking to add more flights.
“We are always in discussions with airlines, add routes, add destinations, add capacity. Larger aircrafts versus smaller aircrafts. That's an eternal piece of work for us that we will do forever.”
David Moore, manager of Adventure Travel in the Hydrostone Market, says competition helps passengers.
"We think it’s great. The more airlines we have, the more competition we have among them. This brings prices down, opens up more routing options,” he said.
Moore said one trial flight isn’t a barometer for the whole travel industry.
"The airline industry, and the travel industry, is always in a state of flux. You never really know if it’s increasing or decreasing,” he said. “I think it all kind of balances out. Which ones will stay and have longevity is anyone's guess."
Spurway says so far about a third of the Glasgow and Paris flights are sold.
“We hope that the traffic is robust because then the airline will look at expanding the service, adding more flights, adding more destinations. As an airport and as our passengers tell us, they like that very much,” said Spurway.
Flights start in the first week of July.