The grounding of Boeing 737-8 MAX in March was one of the reasons behind the drop in passengers travelling through Victoria International Airport in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria International Airport likely won’t see two-million passengers in 2019

Grounding of Boeing 737-8 MAX in March among the reasons behind the drop

A spokesperson for the Victoria International Airport predicts about 1.94 million passengers will have travelled through the facility by the end of 2019. Last year, 2.046 million passengers travelled through the facility, setting a new record.

Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations, said the airport has seen what he called “unprecedented growth” during the last decade, adding that not many airports have seen continuous growth year after year.

“It’s unfortunate [that numbers dropped], but it is not out of line with what would happen at the other airports across the country. Like I said, the indications are that this is a temporary situation. We are always projecting growth … and the trend is always for positive growth anywhere between two and three per cent a year.”

RELATED: Victoria International Airport leader theorizes speculation tax led to decline in passenger numbers

Latest available numbers from October show 159,369 passengers for that month, down 8.5 per cent from October 2018. Year-to-year, the number of passengers dropped by 6.1 per cent. Total aircraft movements were also down in October (dropping 9.4 per cent) and year-to-year (dropping 7.8 per cent). This said, aircraft have handled more cargo, with the rate rising 27 per cent in October compared to October 2018 and 12.9 per cent year-to-year.

Hunchak cited a number of a factors for the decline, which has taken place throughout 2019.

Hunchak said one “significant” factor is the grounding of the Boeing 737-8 MAX in March following two crashes within five months that killed a total of 346 people.

“That has affected the number of available seats flying in and out of Victoria,” he said. “When you have less available seats, you have less available passengers.”

Hunchak added this phenomenon is not unique of Victoria, with other Canadian airports have experienced it also.

The aircraft remains grounded and Boeing announced this month that it plans to temporarily suspend construction of the plane. “It’s really hard to predict at this point,” said Hunchak, when asked what impact, if any, Boeing’s decision would have on passenger numbers.

Victoria International Airport also lost direct service to Seattle following a decision by Delta. United Airlines had earlier cancelled service to San Francisco.

But at the end of day, passengers counts are still “very good,” he said.

Victoria International Airports ranked as Canada’s 11th busiest airport in 2018 and will add capacity next year.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich mayor signs up for mason bee rental service

Fred Haynes rents mason bee colony from Oyster River beekeeper for his Prospect Lake home

Occupancy rates remain above capacity in Greater Victoria hospitals

Region’s hospitals have more patients than acute care beds

‘Clever’ 90-year-old Saanich resident evades vitamin phone scammer

Police warn of phone scammers claiming to be from the Regional Health Authority

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read