Canadian airport traffic up 4% in Q1; WestJet launches transatlantic flights from St. John’s to Dublin

Several Canadian airports have seen new international services launched in 2014 including Montreal (new services to Nice and Istanbul), Vancouver (new service to Iceland) and Toronto Pearson (new Lufthansa service to Munich). 

First quarter passenger figures for 10 of Canada’s busiest airports, reveal that demand is up 4.2%, representing a promising start to the year.’s analysis of passenger data from these airports reveals that in 2013 demand grew by around 2.6%. The top five airports all reported growth with Calgary (+4.9%), Edmonton (+4.6%) and Toronto Pearson (+3.2%) leading the way. Ottawa (-2.3% to 4.58m), Winnipeg (-1.5% to 3.48m) and Halifax (-0.6% to 3.59m) all reported a small decline in passenger numbers in 2013.

Data for 2014 shows that demand is up just over 4% in the first quarter of 2014 with Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria and Kelowna all reporting growth in each month so far of between 5% and 10%. Again, Ottawa and Halifax have seen small declines in demand on a year-to-date basis.

CHART: Canadian airports traffic development - Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 1/08 to 5/14

Source: Airport websites.

International traffic up 10% in Vancouver

The eight busiest Canadian airports all break down their traffic figures into domestic, transborder (US) and international (non-US). A graph of 2014 year-to-date ‘growth’ for each airport by region reveals that domestic traffic is up at all eight airports, although at half of them the increase is less than 2%. In the transborder market five of the eight airports are reporting growth, led by Calgary (+9.0%), Edmonton (+8.4%) and Vancouver (+8.1%).

CHART: Top 8 Canadian airports 2014 - Year to date change in passenger numbers by region

Source: Airport websites.

International (non-US) traffic is up at seven of the eight airports, with Vancouver even reporting double-digit growth in the first four months of 2014. The top five airports are reporting growth in all three market segments so far in 2014.

WestJet launches transatlantic flights from St. John’s to Dublin

The following new international (including US) services have already started in 2014 from Canada’s main airports:

  • Toronto Pearson (YYZ): Dublin (Aer Lingus), Munich (Lufthansa).
  • Vancouver (YVR): Reykjavik/Keflavik (Icelandair), Seattle-Tacoma (Delta Air Lines), Tokyo Haneda (All Nippon Airways).
  • Calgary (YYC): New York JFK (WestJet).
  • Montreal (YUL): Barcelona (Air Canada rouge), Istanbul Atatürk (Turkish Airlines), Nice (Air Canada rouge), Panama City (Copa Airlines), Tunis (Syphax Airlines).
  • St. John’s (YYT): Dublin (WestJet).

This week saw a significant milestone with the launch on 15 June of WestJet’s first ever transatlantic flights from St. John’s in Newfoundland to Dublin in Ireland. The daily service, which will operate until the end of October will originate in Toronto Pearson, enabling one-stop, same plane operations between Canada’s busiest airport and Dublin.


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