If you are looking for a barometer of economic activity in the region, traffic at the Northwest Regional Airport would be a pretty good pick.
Last month the number of passengers using the airport set a new record of 12,319 – that was 777 more than the previous high set in August of 2007.
This followed on a near-record July passenger count of 11,229, just 250 short of the record for that month, again set in 2007.
When the records were being set four years ago, the region was enjoying increased industrial activity with the start of NovaGold and Teck Cominco’s first attempt at developing the Galore Creek copper and gold mine and the provincial government’s original announcement of the start of the Northwest Transmission Line.
Airport general manager Carman Hendry points out we are seeing a replay this year with Rio Tinto Alcan’s smelter modernisation project, prep work at the site of the proposed KM LNG site, the revival of the Northwest Transmission Line and mining activity up North.
Up to the end of August for this calendar year, the passenger count is 78,077 and closing in on the 2007 annual record of 122,070.