It’s expected that Abbotsford International Airport will see its one millionth passenger of 2019 sometime in December.
The airport has never surpassed the one million-passenger mark in a single year, but continued growth has the city-owned facility on pace to surpass that milestone this year.
Last week, airport general manager Parm Sidhu told council that YXX is on pace to see 1,090,000 passengers this year. About 840,000 passengers passed through the airport last year. Only three years ago, in 2016, passenger counts were barely over 530,000.
“That’s a remarkable trend and a remarkable milestone for this airport,” Sidhu said.
The milestone led Mayor Henry Braun to make a prediction:
“If there’s any travellers on Dec. 29 on this year, that’s the day I’m predicting the millionth passenger will go through.”
Increasing passenger counts, which now average 2,700 each day, are spurring more transportation options, boosting airport revenues and leading to more construction at YXX.
Transit options have improved, with Reliabus and eBus each offering service to and from the airport. Reliabus is carrying about 1,000 passengers each month, Sidhu reported, while eBus has transported around 20,000 people over the last year.
Sidhu said the airport has also tripled its rental car business, and pay parking revenue has increased to $3 million.
The airport also has plans to soon begin construction on a new baggage room and screening area. That would cost $8.5 million, although Sidhu said more than half of that sum could be covered by a federal grant. Capital projects at the airport are funded out of its own reserves, rather than city coffers.
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