With an eight month post of 168,000, the North Peace Regional Airport is this year running ahead of last year’s pace when it comes to passengers welcomed at the terminal.

At the end of August last year, the total was 159,000, so the 9,000 difference, represents a 2015 increase of 5.6 per cent.

This would seem to indicate the airport is on track to continue its steady growth trend of recent years, with eight month totals for 2013 and 2012 recorded as 109,000 and 93,000 respectively.

The full 12 month 2014 total was 252,729 passengers, so it remains to be seen if that will be exceeded this year.

However Managing Director Mike Whalley says, from an airport operational perspective the Northeast Region economic environment appears to be less gloomy than some reports in recent months have suggested.

He also indicated there could be more about that, and also about the development of on-site fire protection, with the release next Tuesday morning, of a recently completed economic impact study.

Vantage Airport Group assumed management and responsibility for the operation of the local airport under a long-term lease agreement with the North Peace Airport Society in 1997.

It now cites on its website, transformation of the facility into a modern and efficient operation, after providing full project management services for the new 30,000 square foot terminal, the substantial apron and taxiway rehabilitation project, and the lighting system upgrade in 2005.

The Fort St. John airport is one of nine in the current three continent Vantage Group network, including three more in Canada at Kamloops, Hamilton, and Moncton, two in Cyprus, and the others in Nassau, in the Bahamas, Montego Bay, in Jamaica, and Santiago in Chile.