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

Abbotsford water polo talent earns national gold

16U athletes Sarah Portas and Annika Reinfjell help lead Fraser Valley to first

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Fraser Valley developer offering to build barn owl nesting boxes for free

Gore Brothers says anyone with a suitable building can help the threatened raptor

Fraser Valley Bandits winless streak hits eight

CEBL club still looking for first-ever franchise victory

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Update: Show of support after pride flag was taken down by Township of Langley

Township statement said flag was removed due to “confusion” about whether it was on private property

Most Read