Charlottetown Airport close to record-setting year in 2015
Doug Newson, Charlottetown airport CEO, says 2016 is shaping up even better
Last year's Charlottetown Airport passenger traffic was just shy of the record set in 2014, when year-long celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference boosted visitor numbers.
According to the airport authority, 316,628 air travellers arrived and departed through Charlottetown Airport in 2015, down less than half a per cent from 2014's banner total of 317,827.
Doug Newson, chief executive officer of the Charlottetown airport, said the numbers are encouraging, especially because many were worried traffic would slow down after 2014's year-long celebrations.
"You hear the numbers that were reported recently by Tourism PEI that 2015 was a great year, in fact, so I think people were pleasantly surprised by that," said Newson.
While it's hard to pinpoint the exact reason, he said, the low Canadian dollar is likely a factor.
"I think the low dollar kept more Canadian people vacationing in Canada and I think there was a lot of momentum built up in 2014 that carried over into this past year, as well, through marketing and other initiatives," he said.
"So it's very encouraging and you know, we're hoping the trend continues in the right direction through this year."
Newson is already hopeful 2016 could also be a strong year. He said the airport is looking at increasing airline seat capacity by more than 15 per cent this year and new additions like WestJet's non-stop flight to Orlando are popular with travellers.
Sunwing will offer a seasonal weekly service to Varadero, Cuba, departing Charlottetown on Wednesdays beginning Feb. 17. Air Canada's rouge will fly non-stop to Toronto beginning May 2 through to the end of the summer season.
Air Canada daily direct service to Ottawa returns May 1.
In November, the airport announced an increase in early-morning seat capacity of 33 per cent with three planes departing before 7:25 a.m. for the first time.