YQQ hits new passenger traffic mark in 2015

The head of the Comox Valley Airport said he’s “super happy” with a 10 per cent growth in passenger numbers for the past year.

Despite slumping oil prices, a weak Canadian dollar and job loss throughout the Alberta oil industry, the head of the Comox Valley Airport said he’s “super happy” with a 10 per cent growth in passenger numbers for the past year.

On June 23, CEO Fred Bigelow addressed the year in review during the airport’s annual public meeting, and explained passenger traffic at YQQ reached an all-time high of 351,530 in 2015.

“It is good news … especially if you look at what we overcame.”

The airport weathered the economic storm of the past year, and came out in a good position, Bigelow said, although they did feel the impact with the loss of charter flights – both to sunspot destinations and to the Alberta oil patch.

“It was like someone pulled a light switch; it got turned off very quickly. It was a huge impact.”

Because of the economic downslide in Alberta, WestJet cancelled 88 flights per week between B.C. and Alberta early in 2016.

Bigelow said the airline moved many of its assets out east to Ontario, but both flights to and from the Comox and Victoria airports were spared.

He credits the “fairly resident economy” in the Valley as well as its population demographic, which has a high propensity to travel.

Bigelow added in May of 2015, Air Canada Jazz flights returned to the airport, and routes have remained stable.

As for the future of transborder flights, he noted the airport has a very good relationship with Alaska Airlines.

“(Alaska) just signed an … agreement with Pacific Coastal (Airlines) for cargo. It’s very possible they could be shipping seafood (from the Valley). Opening that door through Pacific Coastal is huge.”

The airport is considered an Airport of Entry from November through April for Canada Border Services Agency, meaning it provides customs and immigration services for incoming flights.

Bigelow explained around $2,500 is saved each time a plane with 160 passenger lands at the airport by having the office at YQQ, rather than having custom agents on-call.

“It’s a huge thing for Puerto Vallarta traffic.”

He added he is working on full-time status to facilitate transborder flights year-round, but cautioned, “it won’t happen overnight.”

The updated five-year strategic plan was also unveiled, with its mission adjusted to recognize the link between air service and the local economy, and its goals to focus on air service development, fiscal responsibility, master planning and employee retention.

To view the strategic plan and accountability report, visit comoxairport.com.

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

Just Posted

A man was sentenced to more than a year in jail for a late-night robbery in Courtenay last April. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Late-night Courtenay robbery results in 500-plus days in jail

Heatley’s sentence also includes probation, DNA order, firearms ban

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

The CSRHD board has diverging views on its relationship with Island Health. File photo
Comox-Strathcona board ponders relationship with Island Health

“We have to stand together … to get our share of the health budget.”

The CVCDA Accessibility Project is creating safer ramps at the Courtenay facility. Photo supplied
Accessibility project underway at Comox Valley Child Development Association

Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read