Savings of time and money are the biggest draws for Canadian travellers using Buffalo Niagara International Airport, said representatives of the facility in Toronto this week.
The media event, part of the airport’s recent push to attract more Canadian passengers, outlined the benefits for travellers willing to cross the border instead of flying out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, for both leisure and business travel.
According to Pascal Cohen, manager of Aviation Business Development at BNIA, use of the airport by Canadian passengers is hardly surprising given the strong geographic ties between Buffalo and Toronto, citing the 15 per cent of Buffalo Sabres and Bills season ticket holders that hail from the north side of the 49th Parallel. An advertising campaign for the airport is currently rolling out in the Greater Toronto Area, including television and billboard ads.
BUF has seen increasing numbers of Canadian passengers in recent years, most of whom hail from the Greater Toronto Area and particularly the southwestern GTA communities between Mississauga and St. Catharines, Cohen said. In fact, approximately 2 million Canadians made the trip across the border to fly out of BUF in 2013.
“More and more of our customers are realizing that the savings are measured in time as opposed to distance,” Cohen said, comparing a drive to Buffalo versus a minimum three-hour wait at Pearson.
On the financial side, while base fares out of the two airports are comparable, additional fees such as taxes and facility surcharges are significantly lower at BUF ($20 compared to nearly $100 at Pearson), Cohen pointed out, citing an article in the Financial Post.
Flights aboard U.S. low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines are another draw for Canadian travellers, who can’t access such airlines north of the border.
The facility has benefits for travel businesses as well.
Costs per enplaned passenger (CPEs) for carriers are higher at Canadian airports, we went on, an expense which is passed along to consumers.
Cohen also acknowledged the recent announcements by both Sunwing and Sunquest offering additional flights out of BUF to several sun destinations.
“Why are they looking at Buffalo?” said Cohen. “Are they looking to bring their Canadian customers down here? What they’re looking at are the two million residents that live between Buffalo and Rochester.”
Photo: Bryan Roth, manager, regional development – CanAM, Buffalo Niagara Partnership; Laura Smith, VP, regional development, Buffalo Niagara Partnership; Pascal Cohen, manager, Aviation Business Development, Buffalo Niagara International Airport; Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership; and Daniel Leonard, director, regional development, Buffalo Niagara Partnership.