New travel routes could take flight at the Sudbury airport
Greater Sudbury has seen a 16 per cent bump in passengers flying into and out of its airport this year and CEO Todd Tripp says he expects that number to rise and hit 265,000 people by the end of 2017.
He attributes that growth to carriers as some are offering more daily flights or bigger planes.
However a downside to the increase in passengers has put added stress on airport infrastructure.
"It's challenging on our staff and everybody has to step up and they have," he said.
"They've done an awesome job of meeting the new demand, everything from our security people, to our screening people, to our airline staff, to our ground workers."
More travel options?
Tripp says the airport is analyzing data to figure out if customers want more travel options, including direct flights to parts of western Canada. If so, he says he'll pitch the idea to interested carriers.
"If they could fly from Sudbury to a direct Thunder Bay or direct Winnipeg or a Calgary type thing might be something that would suit the need, but unfortunately I can't go to the executives of the airlines and go with a hunch. I've actually got to go with data," he said.
"So that's what we're working on now to get that data to see if the travelling market here in Sudbury will actually support a western Canada route."
Tripp says he's hoping to overcome the infrastructure challenges and continue to see growth both in travel options and physical space.
"The vision is that I'd like to see this airport grow some more in terms of actual size, whether it be general aviation, with an increased business travel, with the small corporate jets; increased structures here at the airport: hangers, maybe a possible hotel, maybe a possible service centre out to the road that would also serve Skead and the mining community that pass by the airport," he said.
With files from Angela Gemmill