Traffic down more than 60% at Prince George Airport in 2020

PG airport takes big hit

With travel concerns increasing due to COVID-19, it's no surprise the Prince George Airport Authority saw a major drop in 2020 passenger numbers.

The authority says passenger numbers dropped by 64 per cent last year compared to 2019, with April, May and June being the hardest hit months.

All three months saw declines of at least 91 per cent compared to those same months in 2019.

“It was an unprecedented year for all as COVID-19 turned our world upside down," PGAA President and CEO Gordon Duke said in a release.

“The aviation industry has been hit incredibly hard as travel restrictions and limitations were in place for the majority of the year.

"The number of flights cancelled and airlines who temporarily suspended operations out of YXS forced our management team to pivot and look at other revenue opportunities."

Duke says there was an estimated 42 per cent drop in operating revenues in 2020 compared to the previous year. There was also a 65 per cent decline in Airport Improvement Fees, a primary source of capital funding.

“We started off the year with so much hope as we prepared to welcome the world for the Women’s World Curling Championships, as teams were landing at YXS, they were learning the tournament had been cancelled due to COVID," spokesperson Lindsay Cotter added.

"Locally, that was one of the first indications at how serious this new virus was.

“By the end of March travel restrictions were in place and we were installing plexi-glass barriers and physical distancing decals throughout the terminal in an effort to keep those travelling for essential reasons, safe.”

As a result of the pandemic, the authority applied for the Federal Government Wage Subsidy Program and was approved, which helped keep employees working and mitigate operational losses in 2020.

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