There was a time when people said the Moncton airport would not amount to much. But a few folks got busy. They took on some risk (i.e. debt) they did a few novel things (i.e. departure fees).

And, I think, the results speak for themselves. Aircraft movements at the Greater Moncton International Airport are up almost 22% in March 2006 compared to March 2005. Only five airports in Canada have seen faster growth in aircraft movements – and you guessed it – none east of Toronto.

Just think. If we had the same leadership on the New Brunswick economic development file as we had on that airport. I know it’s a scale issue but one can’t help but wish…..

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Problem is, cheap flights are quickly becoming a thing of the past. People used to fly in and out every couple of weeks from ontario because it was so cheap, $150 bucks each way. Hell, that’s a fancy night out in Toronto.

    Once again with a tory government we should hear about less taxes and ‘security fees’, particularly now that most of the security equipment has been bought. It’s not like they’ve hired new security people. At least then we’d see prices stay lower than with rising oil prices.

    Departure fees isn’t that inventive though, neither is debt. You charge people a tax or else you borrow money-anybody can do that. The weird thing I’ve always found is the big logo on the doors as you go in. For some reason the airport is managed by some western firm in Calgary or Vancouver (I forget which). What? NBers can’t even run an airport? And I hate the fact that you can’t stop for two seconds to pick somebody up, hell, even Toronto isn’t that anal. I’ve bypassed Toronto completely and fly Moncton to Hamilton on Westjet, and Hamilton is a far superior airport I find. However, growth doesn’t come from the airport, it’s what airlines choose to fly into it that makes the difference. Canada Post, purolator, UPS all use Moncton for shipping, that’s because of convience, nothing else.

    So transferring it to economic development, how can it work when you aren’t ‘convenient’ to anything?

  2. David Campbell says:

    As I have stated many times before, every community has its strengths and opportunities. Moncton is ‘convenient’ but you would be wrong to downplay the leadership and effort put into developing that airport. In reality, the Fredericton airport has a greater ‘catchment’ area than Moncton as Moncton is forced to butt up against Halifax and Charlottetown (not to mention Fredericton and Saint John). So while the pure ‘catchment’ area around Moncton (two hour radius) is larger than even Halifax – that means little in the reality of airports in New Brunswick. You never know these things for sure but in my opinion, the Fredericton airport had at least an even shot at becoming the dominant airport but they didn’t act.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That’s because they couldn’t. As said, Moncton got tons of money from the province and the feds-Fredericton gets the bureaucracy but little else. In fact, the airport got downgraded and very nearly shut down.

    You’ll notice that Moncton really began taking off when Westjet made the decision to fly in there. At the time it was the only flight into the east, it was more cost effective than Halifax and therefore Moncton WAS more central than St.John or Fredericton as it is closer to Nova Scotia and PEI, where most of its passengers were going.

    In business, of course, when one area gets its foot in the door first, a lot of concessions usually follow. Moncton has a far better highway into Miramichi/Bathurst/Campbellton than Fredericton does, and is closer to points east, which serves the ever growing courier services, which are becoming far more important.

    As oil becomes more expensive and prices rise, that’s when the problems will arise. I just did a quick check and June airfares are almost double what they were last year, so that will make a big crimp in people’s plans.

    That’s obviously not the airport’s fault, however, unless you can cite something specific besides adding a departure tax I don’t really see how the ‘leadership factor’ played any part in it. In the year 2000 Westjet was looking for ONE city for all the maritimes, and Moncton is the quite obvious choice.

  4. David Campbell says:

    That’s a leap in logic. WestJet flies into Halifax as well so based on pure catchment terms, it should be in Fredericton.

    Look, I stand by my original assertion. If Fredericton had been aggressive and got ownership transferred to local hands (Moncton was the first) and negotiated a package; if it had been aggressive in its expansion plans; if it had taken a risk and built a new terminal funded in part by an unpopular departure fee, I think that it could’ve emerged as the dominant airport.

    I don’t claim any deep knowledge of the sector and I would agree that Moncton may have intrinsic advantages that Fredericton does not. But you can write a million blogs and you won’t change my mind that leadership matters. That driving a stake in the ground and saying ‘enough’ is where it all begins. New Brunswick will never become a vibrant economy and change its destiny by osmosis. It will take direct intervention and direct action on the part of its government, business and community leaders. And the further we erode, the harder it will be to come back.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nobody is disputing that-of course it depends what is meant by ‘leadership’. There’s a variety of ways that can work.

    But in analyzing economic development in the past its important to find out why things were done. Like I said, in 2000 Westjet DIDN”T fly into Halifax. They only had ONE landing in atlantic canada and so Moncton is obviously more central to PEI, NS, and the new highway to northern New Brunswick made Moncton the obvious choice, NOT Fredericton, which was another two hours further from NS and PEI and still has a completely shitty road to northern New Brunswick.

    That’s reality. What factor leadership plays into the mix is another question. We simply don’t have those details. However, we can certainly agree that this government provides zero leadership of just about any form. This is why that it is quite important that we get rid of them. They’ve had seven years to accomplish virtually nothing but bad economic (and even social) policy.

    It’s also why I recommend people join the liberal party and lobby for these things. In a province with one company owning the media a government simply can’t act in any way that contradicts those interests-it’s ALMOST impossible.

    The ONLY way it IS possible is if people start getting up and DEMANDING. The only thing a party understands better than lobby power is voter power.

    Just to be an onion in the ointment, I don’t put the stock into ‘leadership’ that most do. In those cases even if you have a gung ho ‘leader’ like McKenna, the effect is fleeting and things return to the status quo-even if they can be proven they were better in the first place.

    But look at Co-op movements, there you have a fundamentally different kind of ‘leadership’, one that derives its strength from its members, not a single individual. Of course that’s just my opinion.