Pandemic Sees Passengers Plummet

Atlantic Canadian traffic falls 97%

  • 660,000 fewer passengers traveled in the region in April 2020 compared to April 2019
  • Atlantic Canadian airports posted a resultant $15 Million revenue loss from the decline in commercial air travel; braced for cumulative losses of $118 million by year-end
  • Experts estimate it will take 3-5 years for passenger traffic to recover to 2019 levels

(HALIFAX) Tuesday, May 19th, 2020 – Atlantic Canada’s airports have experienced substantial passenger and revenue losses in April. Travel in Atlantic Canada was down 97 percent year-over-year in April with an associated revenue loss of approximately $15 million.

The Atlantic Canada Airports Association (ACAA), the industry voice of 12 airports in the region says the first month of losses is just the beginning of what will be a very challenging year for the region’s airports. Beyond reduced seat capacity and minimal demand for travel, Atlantic Canada’s provinces currently have the strictest travel restrictions in the country.

“These losses are problematic and there will be no quick economic recovery for our region,” says Monette Pasher, ACAA Executive Director. “Airports are serving an important role in fighting the pandemic by enabling medical equipment and personnel to travel to the region, and they will play an active part in its economic recovery. Airports can’t close – they are needed for medevac, moving cargo and essential workers. It’s been a real challenge balancing the need for essential operations work with the operating revenue losses our airports are facing daily.”

Reg Wright, ACAA President and CEO of Gander International Airport Authority says that airports are “stuck between a rock and a hard place” dealing with financial realities in uncertain times:

“Airports have massive fixed operational costs that don’t scale, whether we have ten passengers or 10,000. There are important additional safety measures required that do add to the financial strain. We won’t compromise our high standards of safe and secure operations, but the financial implications are apocalyptic.”

According to Pasher, the region’s airports have optimized available federal and provincial support programs wherever possible and are advocating for industry-specific supports.


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