Bubble path would safely buoy Atlantic Canadian economy: Airports

(HALIFAX) Thursday, June 11th, 2020 – Atlantic Canada’s airport leaders fully support the concept of an Atlantic Canadian travel bubble being considered by Provincial Premiers.

“Airports have asked for a responsible, risk-based easing of travel restrictions that balances public health and economic progress,” said Reg Wright, president of the Atlantic Canada Airport Association (ACAA) and CEO of Gander International Airport.

“We are encouraged that our Premiers and their medical counsel are seriously considering this in a manner that balances the public health and economic needs of our region. Air access is the connective tissue in the Atlantic Canadian economy, and travel is going to be critical to our economic recovery. Airports are ready to play an enabling role in restoring our economy and also doing our part to provide a safe, healthy end-to-end travel framework.”

Atlantic Canada’s airports have suffered significant financial losses from unprecedented declines in passenger traffic and flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wright says the regional travel bubble will be of modest benefit for airport revenues, but a strong step toward restoring the devastated travel and tourism sector.

Inter-provincial air travel within Atlantic Canada accounted for over 1.2 million passengers in 2019, 15% of total traffic for the region’s airports, noted Monette Pasher, Executive Director of the ACAA. Ontario constitutes the largest market for Atlantic Canadian travel at 20% of total passenger traffic.

“While it won’t replace substantial losses in revenue and travelers, an Atlantic Canadian bubble would represent an important advancement. Airports need tourism and our economy needs tourism, which represents 6% of our GDP in the region, double the national average.”

Ms. Pasher said. With the easing of restrictions that is happening our communities are finding their feet again and now we have to move forward responsibly, step by step.

Pasher says that airports have been following enhanced health and safety procedures for the protection of travellers and employees for months and will continue to adhere to all public health directives in the province where they operate and make continued investments in ensuring the safety of their customers. An Atlantic bubble would also provide families what they need most – a welcome adventure in their extended backyard in the midst of a challenging period.

“We do hope this becomes a reality,” Mr. Wright said.

“We encourage Atlantic Canadians to dust off their hiking boots, binoculars, corkscrews, nine irons, lobster crackers, fishing rods and picnic blankets. Get out there and enjoy what makes Atlantic Canada such a celebrated place to  live, play and work.”

About Atlantic Canada Airports Association

The ACAA represents 12 airports in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The region’s airports typically move over 8 million passengers and approximately 60,000 metric tons of cargo annually and account for more than 46,000 jobs in the region. Airports represented by the Atlantic Canada Airports Association are private, not-for-profit, non-share capital corporations where all revenue generated is reinvested in airport infrastructure. Atlantic Canada’s airports are significant economic generators with passenger and cargo traffic generating over $4.4 billion annually into the Atlantic Canada economy.

Media Inquiries

Monette Pasher, Executive Director, Atlantic Canada Airports Association
Cell: (902) 802-5651
Email: Monette@acairports.ca

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