A new baggage claim area at Abbotsford International Airport opened last month. The new area is part of a $5 million expansion of YXX’s terminal. City of Abbotsford image

Passenger counts continue to soar at Abbotsford International Airport

Number of travelers at YXX has risen 60 per cent over last two years

Abbotsford International Airport had another record year in 2018, with two years of significant growth pushing passenger numbers closer to the one million mark.

Around 840,000 passengers passed through the city-owned airport last year, up nearly 165,000 from the previous record-breaking year.

Over the last two years, passenger counts at the airport have risen nearly 60 per cent; in 2016, around 530,000 people were serviced at YXX. Another year of similar growth could see the airport hit the million-passenger mark for the first time. Indeed, the yearly figures seem destined for some improvement because the bulk of last year’s new passengers came over the last five months of 2018. Both November and December saw passenger increases of more than 50 per cent.

The yearly passenger numbers were released Wednesday as the city prepares for the grand opening of the airport’s terminal expansion. The $5 million project was set to add 14,000 square feet of floor space, more seating and a new baggage claim area, among other improvements. Parts of the expanded area opened to the public in December.

Last year’s record numbers came as WestJet-owned Swoop Airlines began flying out of YXX in June. The airline is offering regular flights to several Canadian destinations, as well as to Las Vegas and Mexico.

WestJet, Air Canada, Flair and Swoop all fly out of the airport.

“Abbotsford International Airport continues to be recognized as a competitive regional gateway enabling economic growth across our region,” Mayor Henry Braun said in a news release. “The expansion of YXX and this year’s record breaking passenger volumes support the economic vitality of the region, while adding greater accessibility and convenience for travelers.”

Abbotsford has been touted as a model for other airports, and low-cost carriers in particular have trumpeted YXX’s low-fee approach. But the increased local competition has not come without some controversy.

Last fall, Canada’s Competition Bureau launched a probe into whether WestJet and Swoop were using unsustainably low fares to crowd out competition and, in particular, Flair Airlines.

The interim competition commissioner stated that prices appeared to have been lowered below cost on three Edmonton routes, including that to Abbotsford. Some WestJet tickets between the two cities started at $39. WestJet’s vice-president of pricing and revenue management is set to appear before the commissioner later this year.

– with files from Canadian Press

tweet1

RELATED: Abbotsford airport expansion to double seating capacity

RELATED: Abbotsford International Airport sets new passenger record

RELATED: SLIDESHOW: Swoop touches down in Abbotsford

Just Posted

Man, 24, charged with nine sexual offences in Abbotsford and Mission

Alleged victim, who he met online, is under the age of 16

Abbotsford parents can no longer opt kids out of class content for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

Live demos and stunt shows part of Vancouver Motorcycle Show

Annual event returns to Tradex in Abbotsford from Jan. 18 to 20

Abbotsford’s roads and utility chief left after just two months

City announced hiring of Rafael Villareal in November, but he has returned to old job in Kelowna

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Most Read