Bathurst Regional Airport optimistic for 2018, despite fewer passengers in 2017

As it had projected, the Bathurst Regional Airport is reporting a decrease in passenger numbers this year.

Executive Director Jennifer Henry says 38,058 passengers were served by the airport in 2017, down from the 44,501 the year before.

Henry says the decline can be attributed to a number of factors, including a multi-million dollar expansion project that saw the airport's runway shut down for three days in October.

During that time, she says, existing lines were removed and repainted to conform to the new dimensions of the airstrip, which now measures 1,711 metres.

Henry says another factor contributing to the decline was a decision by Air Canada to decrease movement of its aircraft by 18 per cent.

She says there were a total of 1,180 aircraft movements in 2017 compared to 1,439 the year before.

But, despite the decrease, Northern New Brunswick Airport Authority president Colin Brewster says 2017 was a busy year and that the airport is optimistic for the year ahead.

Brewster says the completion of the renovation project, which is slated for completion in July, means the airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft as well as relax weight restriction on current flight.

He says the airport will be able to offer better service and hopefully offer additional flights in the coming years.