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Deer Lake Airport passenger numbers down overall, despite two record months

Deer Lake Airport - FILE
Deer Lake Airport - FILE - SaltWire File Photo
DEER LAKE, N.L. —

The Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority held its annual general meeting Wednesday evening.

While overall passenger traffic, and the revenue it accordingly generates, was down from the previous year, the airport is still in relatively good financial health and hopes further growth in the tourism industry will continue to help its bottom line.

Here are some of the highlights of the annual report presented at the annual general meeting:

Looking back

- The airport experienced an overall decease of 3.75 per cent in passenger traffic in 2018, with 351,463 people arriving and departing. Ironically, the airport did experience its busiest month ever last August with 51,038 passengers and also set a monthly record last July with 49,396 passengers.

- The decline in passenger traffic has been attributed to the sluggish economy. More specifically, there has been less commuter traffic travelling to and from Northern Alberta to work in the oil and gas sector and to the Muskrat Falls megaproject, which is nearing completion.

- The airport authority said there are no signs commuter traffic will increase anytime soon with little indication the oil and gas sector in Western Canada will rebound any time soon and no new major projects such as Muskrat Falls on the horizon.

- The surges in traffic last summer are directly due to the strong seasonal demand generated by the tourism industry and interest in travel to western Newfoundland. The airport hopes this trend will continue to drive demand during the peak tourism season.

- Despite bringing in less revenue, the airport had an operating surplus of $348,230 at the end of last year.

Looking forward

- Plan for new and maintain existing capital works. The most notable capital project planned in the next few years will be a runway resurfacing and rehabilitation project tentatively scheduled for 2020-2021.

- Attract, expand and retain airline industry services. The airport is already expecting extra seats to be added for this coming tourism season, particularly around the time of the Come Home Year celebrations in Corner Brook in July.

- The airport will continue to try to develop partnerships with the private and public sectors to attract new air service business opportunities. This would include marketing the airport’s land base potential and attract new commercial activity to the area from the aeronautics industry.

Source: Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority

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