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Flight numbers run into turbulence

Flight numbers run into turbulence

Posted on: 5/31/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​Many of us likely take for granted that we can get into a metal tube and fly from one place to another, but it truly is an amazing feat. Also amazing is the number of times that happens at Alberta airports every year. A total of 384,247 planes took off or landed from the international airports in Calgary and Edmonton in 2018 (not including local flights that remain in the vicinity of the airport).

Modern miracles aside, the movement of planes in and out of Alberta can offer insight into our economy. It’s not a precise measure, but more flights is positive in that it suggests more people are taking business trips to and from Alberta, more people are coming to our province as tourists, and more Albertans have the wherewithal to go on vacations to other parts of the world. Fewer flights suggests the opposite.

Year-over-year, itinerant aircraft movements (those from one airport to another) in and out of Calgary International were up by 4.7 per cent in 2018 while Edmonton International saw movements increase by 2.9 per cent. Compared to 2014, before the recession took hold, aircraft movements in 2018 were down by 2.6 per cent in Calgary and 14.9 per cent in Edmonton.

Reduced economic activity in the heart of Alberta’s oil sands is evinced by the flight numbers in and out of the Fort McMurray International airport. Flights were down 9.7 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017 and 37.3 per cent compared to 2014.

Tourism in Alberta, graph​ ​

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