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Airport passenger traffic down 96 per cent in April

Gordon Duke president and CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority

Passenger numbers at the Prince George Airport (YXS) continue to drastically decline due to COVID-19. Data recorded for April’s passenger activity show a decrease of 96 per cent compared to the same month last year. In 2019, April saw 42,911 passengers enplane and deplane, compared to just 1,899 last month.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Gordon Duke, president and CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority. “Those numbers show people are listening to the advice of public health officials and avoiding non-essential travel, however as a not for profit organization, we rely heavily on passenger activity. We continue to lobby all levels of government for help as the aviation industry is going to take years to get back to pre-COVID activity.”

The Prince George Airport Authority successfully applied for the federal government’s wage subsidy program which is helping keep our staff employed.

“We are taking advantage of this down time to do a lot of runway maintenance, interior/exterior painting and training of our operations staff,” said manager of operations, Trevor Gust. “The long-term parking lot has never been as empty as it currently is, so we will use that to our advantage and make repairs and re-paint stalls.”

The airport continues to see a reduction in airline activity this month and is expecting numbers to be even lower than April. Looking ahead to June, Air Canada and WestJet will be operating flights four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) to Vancouver. Come July, Central Mountain Air will be flying three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) to Kamloops, Kelowna, Terrace/Kitimat and Fort St. John. Prince George was not part of Pacific Coastal Airline’s phase one relaunch plan, but we are optimistic we will be part of phase two. The PGAA continues to work with all its airline partners to ensure a smooth and safe transition back into the terminal.

For those few still travelling for essential services, the airport restaurant and Internationals Area remain closed. Non-medical grade face coverings are mandatory as per Transport Canada. The PGAA has also eliminated short-term parking fees as long as you stay with your vehicle.

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