Halifax Airport sees slight increase in passenger traffic ahead of holiday weekend
HALIFAX, NS – Halifax Stanfield International Airport was busy Friday morning as people lined up to go through security en route to various destinations ahead of Thanksgiving weekend.
Airport authority spokeswoman Leah Batstone said it was an encouraging sign after more than a year of low passenger traffic, but still far from pre-flight activity levels. pandemic.
“For the record, we’re seeing an increase in activity today ahead of the Thanksgiving long weekend and that’s something that would be typical for this time of year before any long weekend,” he said. said Batstone. “We would see more activity with people traveling to spend time with family and friends or to get away for a pleasure trip over the long weekend, but we still know – due to the pandemic – significantly lower passenger volumes than we would have had pre-COVID-19.
“So because of that it’s encouraging to see that there are people traveling and we’re delighted to see people coming back to our building, but… the activity is still a little lower than it is. was before. “
The backlog had been resolved by early Friday afternoon, but there were still a number of travelers remaining contributing to a relaxed but lively air.
Darryl Green was traveling to St. John’s, Newfoundland to visit his son, who is studying at the University in the capital of Newfoundland.
Green said he was okay with traveling at this point in the pandemic.
“At this point we are very comfortable,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of action going on to keep everyone safe, so we’re happy with everything we’ve seen. “
Felipe Reygregorio was returning to Toronto. He was also comfortable with how governments are handling ongoing efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
“Everything is fine,” he said, relaxing in a chair by the Air Canada check-in counters. “I think in the middle of our vacation the requirement for proof of vaccination was initiated. It’s OK. You spend a few minutes just showing your ID and proof of vaccination. This is not a problem at all. I think people accept it. I haven’t seen anyone against it. I think it’s very Canadian.
The federal government announced on Wednesday that a mandatory vaccination policy for travelers will take effect on October 30.
“For travelers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they can travel if they can present a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, but this transition period will end on November 30, ”the statement read on Transport Canada’s website.
“The Government of Canada strongly advises all Canadians planning to travel by plane or train during the holiday season to get vaccinated as soon as possible or they will not be able to travel. Travelers will be required to declare their vaccination status and provide documents before boarding.
Batstone said precise figures were not available, but confirmed passenger activity is around 30-40% of 2019 levels.
During Thanksgiving weekend in 2019, there were an average of 170 flights per day, arriving and departing, Friday through Monday.
This weekend, the average is 80 flights in total per day. Thefts are therefore down by around 55%.
“There is still quite a bit of uncertainty,” said Batstone.
“We are cautiously optimistic. It will take, probably, we expect, another three to four years at this point for our recovery to return to where we were before, so there will be a long way to go. “
She said the airport was still mostly connected to domestic destinations.
“We are able to accommodate US and international flights, but at the moment we only have one international flight. Condor Airlines flies to Frankfurt.
This began serving the fall international travel season on September 9 and is expected to end at the end of this month.
“We’re going to start seeing flights to the Caribbean and Florida as winter approaches, and then hopefully have more international service to Europe in Spring / Summer 2022.”
Batstone also wanted to remind travelers who hadn’t had a chance to go somewhere for some time to get to the airport long before their flight left.
“Some of these new processes are in place,” she said. “There are people who haven’t traveled for a long time, there are partner organizations that we work with that are facing… the staff shortage that is affecting many industries right now. So we just ask everyone to give themselves a lot of extra time to get to the airport, to park, to check in, to go through security and to have some sort of patience and to understand that things are. different from what they were before COVID. “
She also recommended that those passing through connections elsewhere check what is required before heading to the airport, such as a COVID test or proof of vaccination.
“A good source of information would be the government website for where you are going. “