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May 16, 2008 | General

EDMONTON — One year after Edmontonians voted to consolidate scheduled passenger traffic at the International Airport, Edmonton is starting to see results and they are positive, says Scott Clements, President and CEO of Edmonton Airports.

Edmontonians voted on October 16, 1995 in a city-wide plebiscite.

Passenger numbers at the International Airport have skyrocketed in the year since the consolidation vote, well beyond the previous combined total for the two airports. Volume for both airports for October 1995 to October 1996 is up more than half-a-million passengers (511,373 people or 19%) over the same period in 1994-95.

“The addition of WestJet and Greyhound have obviously drawn people into the air travel market who previously chose other forms of transportation,” noted Clements, “but let’s remember that they didn’t start up until February 1996 and July 1996 respectively, so they don’t account for all of the increases. Also, consolidating traffic was a big advantage for those carriers, because their connecting traffic from northern Alberta and B.C. is arriving at a single Edmonton airport.

“We believe the growth is also attributable to people who formerly drove to Calgary to catch flights. We also sense a big improvement in the business climate, and we believe the health of our international airport contributes to that optimism.”

The City Centre Airport is well on its way to establishing itself as a centre of excellence for corporate and general aviation. “Almost all of the businesses which operated at that airport before the vote continue to operate successfully today, and in fact, there have been some new businesses set up shop to service the general aviation clientele,” said Clements.

Consolidation at the International Airport also prompted extensive improvements to the terminal building and surrounding parking facilities. The work created hundreds of person-years of employment and injected $18 million directly into the economy in the purchase of goods and services.