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

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

James Bay to host third annual Window Wonderland display

Residents are encouraged to get creative with their designs

Royal BC Museum’s Woolly the Mammoth turns 40 years old

The museum is hosting a party on Jan. 26

Sidney cadet takes home gold at South Island Zone biathlon

‘Rising star’ sets her sights on provincials

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

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

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

Most Read