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Calgary Airport sets a record year with 17 million passengers



Passengers are applying at departure level at the International Airport in Calgary on Monday morning on December 17, 2018. The airport is preparing for some of the busiest journeys of the year as a Christmas approach.

Gavin Ioung / T Postmedia

The volume of passengers at the international airport in Kalgaria jumped by more than 6 percent in 2018, far exceeding the overall economic growth of the city in the past 12 months.

About 17.3 million passengers visited the airport in 2018, roughly a million more than in 2017. An increase of 6.6% over the previous year represents the fastest growth period of the IIC since 2014, when Alberta's economy flourished. However, by 2018 there was an increase in the period when Alberta's economy increased by only 2.4%, according to RBC Economics, and the unemployment rate in Calgary remained stubbornly high (7.9% in December).

Bob Sartor, executive director of Calgari Airport Authoriti, is credited with increasing traffic for constant efforts to make the IIC a hub for connecting flights. Approximately 37% of passengers who went through Calgary International Airport in 2018 were on their way to another destination.

"As a percentage of our total volume, we are the busiest airport in Canada," said Sartor. "This means that while the city may have problems, people continue to travel from Regina to Palm Springs or fly from Portland to Tokyo. . . To some extent, we have recessionally protected our airport.

The new $ 2 billion international terminal, opened in the IIC in October 2016, allowed the planes to carry more connecting flights through Calgary, Sartor added. The terminal features a number of new technologies and processes aimed at rationalizing connections – including improved customs and security procedures, and the ability of passengers to pass through the airport to other destinations without taking a bag or re-examination.

The state-of-the-art runway – which opened in 2014 – has opened more places to land on the IIC, Sartor added.

"We tried to make it very attractive for carriers to bring planes here," Sartor said. "Connection is the key to a city like ours."

The airport authority announced that during the past year, the number of cargoes transported increased, so that 75% of the air cargo of Alberta was processed through the IIC international airport Calgary.

The IIC expects another increase in traffic, ranging from 1 million additional passengers, in 2019. Half of this will be the direct result of WestJet's Boeing 787 aircraft and the opening of hangars in Calgary as the base of Dreamliner. The airline will launch direct flights to London (Gatwick Airport), Paris and Dublin in 2019 with its Dreamliners, and also plans to launch non-stop flights 737 from Calgary to Atlanta in March, as well as the Austin and Portland routes in the spring.

Air Canada now includes direct flights to Palm Springs, California, while Aeromekico plans to return to the IIC in May with a seasonal service four times a week to Mekico Citi.

"We are in the category where we will be considered as a major North American airport for several years," said Sartor.

astephenson@postmedia.com

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