Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

W. Mark Brown, 1991

Halifax International Airport: A Description and Analysis of its Passenger Traffic Growth 1968-1990


The objectives of this study were to describe and explain the growth of air passenger traffic at the Halifax International Airport for the period 1968 to 1990 and to use these results to comment on Halifax's position within the urban hierarchy of Atlantic Canada.

It was found that the airport experienced strong growth over the study period and that this growth could be explained by changes in airline route network and demand for air travel. The network has evolved from a decentralized structure to one which is centralized, with Halifax as the main hub. Halifax's growth can be attributed to, in part, an increase in connecting passengers as a result of its hub function. In addition to network changes, growth was also found to be explained by demand. Population and per capita Gross Provincial Product gave high levels of explanation of the increase in air traffic over the study period.

Halifax's position within the network can also be used as an indicator of its rank in the urban hierarchy of Atlantic Canada. The results of the analysis have shown Halifax was able to move from being among the top centres in the region to establishing itself at the top of the urban hierarchy with no close rival. It is possible this entrenchment will continue because Halifax's position within the network should create greater local demand for air travel.