The Thunder Bay Airport has set a new record.

Passenger volumes saw an all-time high in 2017 at 844,627 passengers.

That’s a 4.6 per cent increase in traffic compared to 2016.

Airport officials attribute the growth to several factors including added capacity offered by many airlines to northern destinations as well as an early start to the winter charter season.

Last year’s Under 18 World Junior Baseball Championships that the city hosted as well as an increase in international students at both Lakehead University and Confederation College also contributed to the jump in passenger volumes.

Airport president and CEO Ed Schmidtke said in a news release that he expects similar volumes in 2018.

“Special events hosted by our community will support airport volumes going forward,” he said. “The hosting of the 2018 Ski Nationals is expected to draw up to 700 guests to Thunder Bay in March. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting in September consistently draws 450 delegates. The Victory Cruise ship will see 400 passengers arrange air travel components through Thunder Bay Airport.”

This rise in passenger numbers has lead to the expansion of the airport’s terminal building.

The secure departure lounge and the Customs Clearance Hall are both set to be expanded by this fall.

“As Thunder Bay continues to grow it’s reputation as a national and international destination, the airport will invest in facilities that will welcome our visitors and cost effectively support our daily operations,” said Schmidtke.

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