“The demand for air travel continues to increase for both inbound and outbound traffic.The growing popularity of the region as a tourist and convention destination, in addition to the large-scale capital investments taking place in the province is drawing people to the region.Meanwhile, business travel outside the province continues to grow and sun charters to Caribbean destinations continue to be a popular choice for Newfoundlanders looking for a week in the sun during the winter months.I am pleased that our airline partners continue to respond to this growing demand for air travel to and from our community by adding more flights and using larger aircraft,” said Mr. Keith Collins, President & CEO of St. John’s International Airport Authority.
In 2012, the number of available airline seats increased by approximately 5% with the extension of the London Heathrow flight into October month, larger aircraft deployed for the Toronto, Halifax and Newark markets during the summer months, the early commencement of the weekly flight to Orlando, and the addition of sun charter flights to more destinations.
2013 is shaping up to be another strong year for air travel.A number of the multi-billion dollar capital projects planned for the province are starting to ramp up construction this year and these will increase travel to and from destinations around the world, especially those involved in the energy sector.These labour intensive projects are also anticipated to increase traffic from within the Atlantic Canadian region and other parts of Canada.
The increased capacity that the airlines have planned for St. John’s International Airport this year will support this increased demand.For example, Air Canada’s direct flight to London Heathrow will commence on April 25th, three weeks earlier this year compared to 2012.United Airlines’ direct daily service to Newark, NJ will upgauge its aircraft to a 124 passenger Boeing 737 jet service six weeks earlier than last year, starting on April 28th. Westjet Airlines commenced its weekly direct service to Orlando in November 2012, extending the service from a twelve (12) week to a twenty eight (28) week season and also offered sun charters to the Caribbean for the first time this year from our airport.The additional flights and greater variety of destinations offered by Sunwing Airlines and Air Transat this year has also increased the total number of available seats to these southern destinations by 54% compared to 2012.
“As the premier gateway to and from the province, our airport serves as an important asset in enabling the economic growth of our region.Our role is to work with our airline partners and our stakeholders to ensure that the travelling needs of our region are being met.We will continue to do this and where a business case exists, we will aggressively pursue new routes and new airlines to expand service at our airport,” added Collins.
There are 80 flights each day to and from St. John’s International Airport to twelve (12) destinations that are presently being operated by seven airlines (Air Canada, Westjet, Porter, United, Provincial Airlines, Air Saint Pierre, EVAS Air).In addition, Sunwing and Air Transat provide service on a seasonal basis to sun destinations, including Jamaica, Mexico, Orlando, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
St. John’s International Airport Authority is a private, not-for-profit organization with the mandate to provide the region with a safe, cost-efficient transportation facility that is a catalyst for economic growth.Under the provisions of a long-term Ground Lease with the Federal Government of Canada, the Airport Authority is responsible for the airport’s operations on behalf of the community it serves.