© Keith Gosse/The Telegram
St. John's airport. — File photo
Passenger traffic through St. John’s International Airport reached nearly 1.5 million people in 2012, a six per cent increase over 2011.
The airport authority released the figures today in a news release that noted the St. John’s airport, with about 1,450,000 passengers last year, is now the 10th-busiest airport in the country.
Keith Collins, president and CEO of the airport authority, called 2012, the busiest year on record, “another solid year.”
“It just keeps on growing,” he said. “This kind of growth at the airport here in St. John’s really speaks to the strength of this region’s economy, because it’s a very strong link between how an economy’s doing and the demand for air travel. So when the economy’s doing well, the demand for air travel is up, and I think it works the other way as well, that if demand for air travel is up, it benefits the economy.”
About 85 airport maintenance workers have been on strike since Sept. 11, which may have slowed growth, acknowledged Collins, with labour-sympathetic convention organizers cancelling conferences and travellers bypassing the St. John’s airport in favour of Gander, but he said the fourth quarter of 2012 saw four per cent growth, so any strike effect is minimal, he added.
“The fourth quarter was up almost four per cent over the fourth quarter of 2011,” he said. “We processed 330,000 passengers in the fourth quarter, so there was strong growth there. … I wouldn’t say there was no effect, but the effect of those sorts of decisions has been fairly modest when you’re looking at four per cent growth in the fourth quarter.”