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Aircraft movements at Alberta airports

Aircraft movements at Alberta airports

Posted on: 12/4/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Many of the regular indicators that The Owl tracks each month—retail sales, unemployment, manufacturing, etc.—help paint a picture of Alberta’s economy. Other statistics can also provide information about how Alberta was affected by the recession, and how it has stabilized in 2017.

The graph below shows monthly aircraft movements at Alberta’s three major airports, including both domestic and international flights. The thin line shows monthly aircraft movements, while the heavy line shows the 12-month trend line. (The data track only aircraft movements and do not count individual passengers landing or departing.)

Alberta’s busiest airport, Calgary International, handles roughly 20,000 aircraft movements each month. The 2009 and 2015-16 recessions caused air traffic to drop during each of those periods.

Despite being less dependent on the energy sector than Calgary, Edmonton International appears to have been hit harder by the 2015-16 downturn. Total flights fell from around 14,000 before the recession to nearly 11,000 monthly movements last year. The volume of traffic has since stabilized around that level in 2017.

Fort McMurray, the third busiest airport in Alberta, experiences the greatest seasonal volatility in aircraft movement. It too was affected by the oil price collapse in 2015, which cut the volume of aircraft traffic almost in half. The impact of the May 2016 forest fires can be seen clearly in the monthly data. Aircraft movements in that month dropped to a low of 1,064.

Domestic and international aircraft movements, graph

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