I was thinking about the Region of Waterloo International Airport the other day, not because the Air Show was a huge success (it gets bigger and better every year) but because starting next week American Airlines / American Eagle will be providing daily non-stop service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport with connections to over 250 cities in over 40 countries worldwide.
This is big. This is important for Waterloo Region.
An article in the Atlantic magazine looking at the role of airports in the economic development of cities found that there is a direct correlation between the size of the airport and the size of a city. Specifically, the size of a city strongly correlates to the total number of flights and the total number of passengers an airport serves. But surprisingly, the study also suggests that an increase in urban population of 1% is associated with an increase in airline passengers of nearly 1.5%. This means, for every person added to an urban area’s population, almost one and a half passengers are added to airport traffic.
Why is this?
This phenomenon is referred to as “superlinear scaling” and is a manifestation of the overall acceleration of social and economic life that occurs in urban population centers. The lifestyle in cities speed up as their size increases, speeding the flow of goods, people and ideas and accelerating the rate of innovation and economic growth.
For Waterloo Region, what came first the chicken or the egg?
Our airport has undergone a decade of expansion and growth. Since I arrived in Waterloo Region in June 2000, I have witnessed Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph, grow and develop from provincial backwaters (my opinion) into a world class region and an economic powerhouse.
According to Wikipedia, the Region of Waterloo International Airport is the 20th busiest airport in Canada. It is presently providing daily non-stop flights to Ottawa and Montreal with Bearskin Airlines, and to Calgary with WestJet. Sunwing flys non-stop to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for the duration of the winter season.
The airport is about to get even busier, and I guess as life speeds up, so are we.