British Columbia

Bought for 10 bucks, Abbotsford Airport surpasses million-passenger milestone

Twenty-three years after it was bought for $10, the Abbotsford International Airport is celebrating its millionth passenger.

YXX passenger volume continues to grow at record rates annually

Abbotsford International Airport has surpassed the one-million passenger mark. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Twenty-three years after it was bought for $10, the Abbotsford International Airport — also known as YXX — is celebrating a much bigger number: the million-passenger mark.

Patricia Lovatt of Maple Ridge, B.C., was named the one millionth passenger after returning home on a flight from Edmonton.

"It's wonderful, absolutely wonderful," she said. "[Abbotsford Airport] is close to home and convenient for people who live from Maple Ridge to Chilliwack."

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said the milestone will soon be doubled.

Patricia Lovatt was named the one millionth passenger to pass through the Abbotsford International Airport. (Kevin MacDonald/Abbotsford International Airport)

"It took us 23 years to get to a million. I think that we will hit two million within the next two to five years," he said.

Abbotsford bought the airport from the federal government for $10 on Jan. 1, 1997, on the condition it remain an airfield.

The three original runways were built during the Second World War and used to train pilots. But by the 1990s, the 87-hectare site, owned by the Department of Transport, was losing $200,000 a year.

YXX currently serves no-frills airlines such as WestJet, Swoop, Flair and Air Canada Rouge and does not charge an airport improvement fee like most North American airports.

In the past two years it has seen passenger volumes increase by close to 25 per cent annually, supported by the addition of two new gates and a 14,000-square-foot expansion of the terminal.

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