Despite breaking its own passenger traffic record for the eighth time in the last nine years, officials at the Ottawa International Airport Authority say a slowdown at the end of 2012 are leading to low expectations for the early part of the new year.
(Photo by Etienne Ranger)
Last year got off to a flying start as passenger trips far exceeded the numbers from 2011 for the first few months. February had a little more than 411,000 passengers, a jump from close to 375,000 during the same month a year earlier.
However, those numbers leveled off by May, though, and fell below 2011 levels during the final four months of 2012.
“We certainly think that the first part of (2013) might follow that trend, and we’re hoping that by the end of the year, we’ll be back up into positive territory overall,” said Michael Crockatt, the airport authority’s vice-president of business development and marketing.
Airport traffic is typically a barometer of the health of the Ottawa economy, said Mr. Crockatt, since people will only travel to the airport if they have business or are vacationing in the city.
He cited major events such as the NHL All-Star game and the federal Liberal Party’s biennial convention as two drivers behind the strong passenger figures during the early part of the year.
“The more of those (events) we get, the stronger our numbers should be over the long-term,” said Mr. Crockatt.
In total, nearly 4.69 million people travelled to or from the airport in 2012, up 1.33 per cent from about 4.62 million in 2011.