Fredericton airport renews call for $30M expansion

A seventh-straight year of increased passenger traffic has the Fredericton International Airport Authority renewing its call for federal and provincial funding to help the airport expand.

Passenger traffic increases for 8th straight year, approaching 378,000

Fredericton airport saw passenger traffic increase eight per cent, to almost 378,000, in 2016. (CBC)

A seventh-straight year of increased passenger traffic has the Fredericton International Airport Authority renewing its call for federal and provincial funding to help the airport expand.

With the addition of a daily WestJet flight to Toronto and three sun destination flights in 2016, the number of passengers going through the airport climbed eight per cent last year, to 377,977.

The increase is more than double the industry average of 3.2 per cent recorded in 2015, which is the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Johanne Gallant, the president of the airport authority, pointed to a need for the airport to expand given the increased traffic volume.'

"The building dates back to the '60s," she said. "It did its job right, but now it's old and tired and it's limited in capacity and size."

Last fall, the airport authority said it wants to expand the terminal by 50 per cent at a cost of $30 million.

The airport authority has its $10 million share of that amount in place, said Gallant. It is looking to the federal and provincial governments to each contribute $10 million.

The airport authority says the terminal has been operating beyond its designed capacity for 10 years.

"The consumer has been very patient with us in the last few years, but it really is time that we move forward with such a project."

In November the airport began construction to add a second security line to ease congestion. The $45,000 project is scheduled to be completed in February.

The airport authority projects the number of passengers using the airport to reach 500,000 by 2030.

With files from Information Morning