THUNDER BAY – AVIATION – The Thunder Bay International Airport is one of the consistent economic drivers in the region. This past year saw Thunder Bay Airport (YQT) volumes hit an all-time high by hosting 844,627 passengers in 2017. Traffic grew by 4.6% over 2016 volumes.
Traffic volume growth was supported by a number of positive factors. Additional capacity offered by a number of airlines into northern destinations has contributed new volume. The early start of the winter charter season also brought new passengers to the airport.
Airport volumes also benefitted significantly from the Under 18 World Baseball Championships and the rise of international student enrollment at both Lakehead University and Confederation College.
Volumes are expected to be similar in 2018 according to President and Chief Executive Officer, Ed Schmidtke. “Special events hosted by our community will support airport volumes going forward. The hosting of the 2018 Ski Nationals is expected to draw up to 700 guests to Thunder Bay in March. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in September consistently draws 450 delegates. The Victory Cruise ship will see 400 passengers arrange air travel components through Thunder Bay Airport”, said Mr. Schmidtke.
Passenger traffic growth has necessitated terminal building expansion. The secure departure lounge and the Customs Clearance Hall will both be expanded by the fall of this year. Speaking on the expansion, Mr. Schmidtke said: “As Thunder Bay continues to grow its reputation as a national and international destination, the Airport will invest in facilities that will welcome our visitors and cost-effectively support our daily operations.”