Passenger numbers remained lower than normal in 2021 at the Prince George Airport, but there was still a 14% increase from 2020.

The Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA) says passenger numbers at the start of 2021 were similar to 2020, but they started to see a recovery starting in July. The airport says they saw increased air service in the second and third quarter of the year, but it dipped in the fourth.

“Particularly in the last half of the year, we saw some really encouraging numbers starting in July, and beat what we had forecast in terms of what we thought was going to happen in the year,” said PGAA President and CEO, Gordon Duke.

“We’re pleased with 2021 in terms of passenger numbers, and continue to be cautiously optimistic as we go forward.”

In the first half of 2021, YXS averaged 8,504 passengers per month. In the second half, the average was 25,080.

In total last year, there were 201,506 passengers at the Prince George Airport. From 2017 to 2019, YXS averaged 500,775 passengers per year.

There were a few new additions at the Prince George Airport as well.

“We’ve now got Whitecap RSD Medical, which provides rapid antigen testing at YXS, and that’s available to the public and staff,” Duke explained.

“We also have a partnership on the go with Innovative Services Canada, to test some technology initiatives around COVID-19. We have facial recognition and thermal imaging cameras we’re trialing. We also have a technology that’s been installed that allows us to see where people are congregating to make sure we’re compliant as far as social distancing.”

In addition, Duke said they’ve welcomed Farmhouse Catering into YXS.

“They’ve already opened up a kiosk in the hold room, and are starting to open up the restaurant area pre-security, and working on a full renovation of that, and then a full restaurant service that will be available later this year.”

For 2022, Duke says they’re working to expand a fire training area for an opportunity to train first responders, and they’re working on a partnership with the BC Summer Games.

“We will just continue to offer a safe and secure airport for all of our stakeholders,” Duke said.