Successful year for Saskatoon Airport despite turbulent times

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon airport celebrates successful 2016 but says more challenges ahead'
Saskatoon airport celebrates successful 2016 but says more challenges ahead
WATCH ABOVE: In 2016 more than 1.4 million passengers took off and touched down in Saskatoon. The majority were domestic passengers, but more than 77 thousand were international travelers. – Apr 26, 2017

The Saskatoon Airport Authority is flying high after one of its best year’s ever in terms of passenger traffic.

On Wednesday, the authority released its 2016 annual report. The 40-page document highlighted a boost in the GDP by approximately $414 million a year and an award from the Airport Council International in the under two-million passengers category.

READ MORE: Skyxe Saskatoon Airport named best in North America

“Being named the best airport in North America that’s something we’re so proud of as an organization,” Stephen Maybury, president and CEO of the Saskatoon Airport Authority (SAA), said.

An estimated 1.45 million passengers took off and touched down in Saskatoon in 2016 – an annual increase of .06 per cent.
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Here is a breakdown of that passenger traffic:

  • 1,247,065 were domestic passengers
  • 127, 489 transborder passengers
  • 77, 786 international passengers

In terms of on-time performance, 90.16 per cent of the time flights leave within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure times.

READ MORE: Saskatoon International Airport named most improved in North America

Approximately 1,300 people work at the airport and last year 3,100 spin-off jobs were created in the community.

Officials say there are also plans for more parking and parking products. By 2018, a first-class valet service will be offered to jet-setters wanting to knock a few things off their to-do list while they’re gone.

“You leave your vehicle with an attendant and you may have ordered a host of services while you’re away,” SAA board chair Leslie Prosser said.

“We’re talking about detailing, oil changes and what have you, those are all things that customers look for and other airports in larger centres offer them.”

Sustaining operations and financial success at the airport however has been a challenge – with officials predicting more turbulent times ahead.

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“We know what’s going on in the world in terms of upheaval in international travel and security,” Prosser said.

“You know those things are not lost on us here and even though we are a very small community we’re touched by all of those events.”

The economics of airlines drive what direct flights come out of Saskatoon.

At this point,  the only non-stop flight to a major U.S. city to catch a connection is Minneapolis after our market lost Denver and Chicago.

According to officials, while it’s not ideal the situation for now is unlikely to change given the Canadian dollar and oil prices.

“The foundation for air service is commercial viability and when you look at cost of business, etc. and the changing of the dollar it has an impacted on their bottom line,” Maybury said.

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