Kamloops Airport management remains confident passenger traffic will rebound is six month’s time as reconstruction from wildfire damage proceeds in northern Alberta.
Figures released by the airport Tuesday show a continued downward trend in air travellers through Kamloops with the sharpest decline reported to date. Monthly travellers in July totalled 25,251, a seven percent drop from July 2015. To date this year, passengers are down by 1.9 percent.
The trend is felt to be mostly a result of the Fort McMurray wildfire and the slump in the energy sector, which continues to weigh heavily on the Albertan economy.
“A forecasted correction to this is now expected to occur over the winter and into the coming spring as reconstruction demands skilled labor from outside the Northern Alberta market and we should see a return of commuting workers to that region,” noted Fred Legace, airport manager.
Firefighting activity at the airport has also dropped off from last year, when drought conditions greatly increased regional wildfire activity.
Last month, the airport was approved for a grant from the B.C. Air Access Program to share the cost of rebuilding a portion or the main runway apron. The two-month construction project will get under way this month with the balance of work to be completed in spring 2017.