US flights will return to Halifax airport on August 9
After a year and a half of low passenger numbers, officials at Halifax Stanfield International Airport finally received much needed good news on Monday.
The federal government has announced plans to let fully vaccinated tourists visit Canada again soon. Starting August 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in that country will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
Halifax was one of five airports added to the list of Canadian airports that will once again allow international flights carrying passengers to land. Airports in Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton were also on the list. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, international flights had only landed in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
“It has been almost 16 months since we have had any international or US flights at our airport, so this is great news and we look forward to meeting these travelers at our airport,” said Leah Batstone, gatekeeper. word of Halifax. International airport authority.
The federal government also plans to open Canada’s borders to fully vaccinated travelers from all other countries on September 7. This would be another huge boost to the traffic volume at the Halifax airport.
Batstone said during the pandemic, passenger activity at the airport was about 10% of what it was before the pandemic, and is currently around 15%.
“For tourism and for the economy in general, this is great news,” she said. “We expect this to be the first step in our recovery – which will take several more years – but it’s kind of the start of it.”
Returning to full service will take time
Passengers who expect to be able to immediately access the same level of service as before the pandemic, such as non-stop flights to a wide variety of destinations, may need to be patient.
“It’s not like you can just flip a switch and it’ll all come back right away,” Batstone said. “It takes a while, especially for airlines to sell tickets, to figure out which plane is going to fly where, and to make sure there is a demand for it.”
Batstone said she expects flights to resume to and from U.S. and Caribbean destinations this fall and winter, and additional routes in 2022, but it could take several years before nonstop flights to other destinations such as Europe return.
The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly halted air travel activity from March 2020, resulting in the largest financial loss on record by the Halifax International Airport Authority.
Before the pandemic, Halifax Stanfield was home to 120 organizations supporting 5,600 on-site jobs, such as ground handlers, firefighters, accountants, hotel workers and crews.