The large hangar adjacent to the Northwest Regional Airport’s main terminal building has been converted into a charter passenger facility for workers connected to the LNG Canada project. (Bert Husband Photo)

Passenger increase continues at Northwest Regional Airport

Charter facility set to grow as well

The number of passengers passing through the Northwest Regional Airport during the month of January has almost doubled over the last two years.

Figures provided by the airport put the number of passengers in January this year at 21,871, 10 per cent more than January 2019’s count of 19,900 passengers, and nearly 42 per cent more than January 2018’s count 15,456 passengers.

“And when you look at 2019, we were 22 per cent up over 2018,” says airport general manager Carman Hendry of the total number of passengers through the airport in 2019 of 293,895 passengers compared to 2018’s total of 240,253.

“LNG Canada is one of the main reasons for the increase,” says Hendry, referring to the number of workers flying into Terrace on their way to Kitimat to work on the first phase of the massive natural gas liquefaction project currently underway in Kitimat.

The airport last saw substantial passenger numbers in the middle of the last decade during the peak of Rio Tinto’s rebuild of its Kitimat aluminum smelter and B.C. Hydro’s construction of the Northwest Transmission Line which runs north of Terrace.

READ MORE: Airport reopened after plane’s nose collapses, skids off runway during landing in Terrace

Hendry’s predicting continued growth this year as construction of the LNG Canada project ramps up. The first phase of its worker camp on the project site is scheduled to open this spring, housing more than 1,000 people who, for the most part, will be flying in and out on shift rotations.

In addition to scheduled flights using the airport’s main terminal, the large blue hangar adjacent to the terminal has now been converted into a charter facility to handle workers and others connected to the LNG Canada project.

That activity began last fall, with one charter in and out each week, rising to three. As construction activity and the workforce increases, the number will increase to between nine and 12 flights a week, said Hendry.

“With the size of aircraft, that could be 140 passengers each time,” said Hendry of flights originating on the lower mainland and in Alberta.

The hangar facility is owned by the Northwest Regional Airport and leased to Alberta-based ONEC, a major engineering, construction and logistics company that then signed a business deal with the economic development arm of the Haisla Nation to form ONEC Logistics Kitamaat LP.

Last year the airport recorded 4,800 charter passengers, a number Hendry said will quickly climb this year as charter traffic connected to LNG Canada increases.

As the charters increase, Hendry anticipates a tempering of the scheduled flight passenger count.

“We don’t count charters in those [scheduled flight passenger] numbers,” he said.

The shift to the charter facility will also ease what has been an extremely busy main terminal hold room, he added.

“But we will continue to welcome those passengers should they wish,” Hendry said of LNG Canada-connected traffic.

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

Just Posted

Search and Rescue and RCMP investigate after abandoned kayak found on Kitimat River

KSAR and Kitimat RCMP confirmed the owner lost the recently-discovered kayak a couple of weeks ago.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Tamitik Status of Women granted $500,000 to support housing construction project

The funds will be used to support the construction of second stage and affordable rental housing.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read