Porter Airlines has arrived in Fredericton as the third major carrier to service the New Brunswick capital.
Even though this comes as officials have been stressing the need for a terminal expansion at the Fredericton International Airport, they don’t expect the added flights to negatively affect operations.
Daily non-stop flights to Ottawa with continuing service to Toronto are now underway for Porter who joins Air Canada and Westjet as major carriers at the Fredericton International Airport.
But some strategic placement of the flight which departs in the afternoon during a lull in service should keep from adding to what is often an already overcrowded situation.
“We’ve grown 20 per cent just in the last three years and before that there was seven years of growth,” explained airport President and CEO Johanne Gallant. “This building dates back to the sixties so it’s a matter of space.”
Gallant said expanding the airport wouldn’t only help alleviate the long lines that can sometimes stretch outside the building during unexpected delays, but it would also create temporary jobs for the project and would boost the economy for the increased capacity of those travelling for business.
“A terminal expansion project like ours has an economic impact to the community,” she explained. “We create jobs, we’re a flight college, we also serve the military, the I.T. sector, conventions, tourism and leisure so there’s a big payback.”
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Recent changes to the billion dollar National Trade Corridors Fund to include airports that are a part of the National Airport System was welcome news to Fredericton Airport officials.
“Some doors have opened up at the federal level so this is great for us,” said Gallant. “We’ve applied to the province and the federal government on a couple of different programs and are waiting to hear back.”
Although she remains patient and hopeful right now Gallant says over the next ten to fifteen years continued growth will only make the need for expansion that much more evident.
“We’re aiming to average about half a million passengers a year,” Gallant says of estimates for 2030. “This building cannot sustain that so it’s definitely for today and also for future growth.”