2013 Year in Review: Arrival of WestJet leads to record airport travel

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

The city, along with Nanaimo, B.C., was part of the launch of WestJet’s regional airline Encore, based out of Calgary. On a daily basis, the Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane leaves from Victoria and makes stops in Vancouver and Fort St. John on its way to Calgary and back.

Fort St. John was named as a target for expansion by WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky at the end of 2011, and 2012 saw a big push from the Energetic City to try and get its services here. Representatives visited Calgary in June of that year, along with approximately 30 other communities, to try and make their case that “It Just Makes Sense” to come to Fort St. John.

Having a third airline at the North Peace Airport has led to a sharp increase in passenger travel that’s expected to continue until next summer. Traffic increased 45 per cent in July, 53 per cent in August, and 55 per cent in October, followed by record-breaking traffic in October of over 20,000 passengers for the first time ever. It’s projected that by the end of the year, 185,000 people will have passed through the airport. If service has stayed the same, those numbers would likely be closer to 144,000. 

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