February 21, 2024

Passenger visitors in Fort McMurray rose slowly in 2023, however is much under pre-pandemic numbers. However the airport’s management nonetheless noticed victories in 2023 and is optimistic for 2024.

Article content material

Passenger visitors on the Fort McMurray Worldwide Airport is predicted to proceed rising in 2024 after reporting regular progress in 2023. Annual passenger visitors remains to be far under pre-pandemic numbers, although.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Denean Robinson, CEO of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, mentioned in an interview this challenged the airport’s revenues. Nevertheless, she is optimistic 2024 will carry progress and its personal successes, and present progress with its enterprise into actual property.

Article content material

“We’re nonetheless challenged by not having our passenger numbers again to the place they have to be,” mentioned Robinson. “We’re optimistic for 2024 and hopefully we could have some new flights to announce within the new yr.”

The yr ends with 360,000 passengers coming via Fort McMurray’s airport. Visitors is predicted to rise to 380,000 passengers in 2024. However pre-pandemic visitors was hovering round 595,000 passengers yearly when restrictions and lockdowns started. Robinson mentioned most Canadian airports have didn’t get better totally from the pandemic.

Commercial 3

Article content material

Lots of the beneficial properties is for leisurely journey, corresponding to holidays. Enterprise journey has plummeted as extra folks work desk jobs from dwelling. Airways are combating how to answer this modification, she mentioned.

Choices made by airways have been additionally setbacks. Aptitude Airways’ much-hyped direct flight to Tucson failed in Fort McMurray and the 4 different Canadian cities providing the route. The Fort McMurray Worldwide Airport now has no worldwide flights.

Robinson mentioned the transfer was unlucky and individuals who visited Tucson raved concerning the metropolis. However selling Tucson was going to be onerous. Even throughout sturdy financial instances, Robinson mentioned it takes years to advertise locations that aren’t conventional trip spots.

Commercial 4

Article content material

“The ridership simply wasn’t there to assist Aptitude persevering with that providing,” mentioned Robinson. “What they have been seeing with seats offered was not the place they wanted it to be.”

New routes are being sought by the airport’s management. Extra direct flights to Edmonton are anticipated to be added, and Robinson hopes it can forestall folks from driving to airports in Edmonton and Calgary. Kelowna has been recognized as a possible route that could possibly be profitable for Fort McMurray.

“Definitely we’d hope to draw that route. There’s been no bulletins for that coming again, nevertheless it’s definitely on our radar,” she mentioned.

aurora landing
The Aurora Touchdown growth, positioned on 650 acres of land south of the Fort McMurray Worldwide Airport. Picture provided by Fort McMurray Airport Authority

There have been successes in 2023. More than 650 acres of land south of the airport is hitting the market for retail, workplaces, resorts, industrial websites and transportation.

Commercial 5

Article content material

The land is named Aurora Touchdown. Michael Sieger, the airport authority’s vp of air service and industrial growth, mentioned in a September interview that the plan is to develop the land through the subsequent 15 years. Sieger says there may be excessive demand for industrial and retail properties bigger than what’s present in strip malls.

“We consider now could be the precise time. We wish to be fiscally accountable. We’ve a possibility to handle our personal method via that,” Sieger mentioned on the time. “The land we have now out there offers us that chance to see a big enhance in non-aeronautical income.”

Robinson mentioned the mission is in its early phases, however there was curiosity from builders. A seasonal direct flight to Montreal can also be successful, and Air Canada is bringing the route again this spring.

Commercial 6

Article content material

The airport itself was named North America’s finest airport serving fewer than 2 million folks yearly by Airports Council Worldwide (ACI). It has additionally been named the cleanest and most satisfying airport on the continent. Robinson can also be proud that operations has lower emissions on the airport by 34 per cent.

An arts showcase will profile native artists all through the terminal in 2024. A volunteer program tried at different airports has additionally launched efficiently.

Get the information and occasions of Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo in your inbox each Friday morning by signing up for our e-newsletter.

[email protected]

Article content material