Kamloops Airport passenger data shows toll pandemic is taking on airline industry

Airport numbers down 90%

Passenger numbers at the Kamloops Airport were down 90 per cent last month, reflecting the impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having on the air travel industry.

In March, 2,128 passengers passed through Fulton Field. That’s down 89.8 per cent from the 21,123 passengers who utilized the airport in March 2020.

Numbers for the first quarter of 2021 paint a similar picture. Through the first three months of this year, 8,628 passengers travelled through Kamloops Airport — down 90.8 per cent from the 91,683 travellers the facility saw in the first quarter of 2020.

“Passenger numbers for the first quarter of 2021 are reflective of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry,” Kamloops Airport managing director Ed Ratuski said in a news release.

“The announcement of additional and more intense travel restrictions at the end of 2020 had an immediate and devastating impact on scheduled passenger flight availability to and from Kamloops.”

Ratuski said the air travel industry in Canada is expecting to see an uptick in demand as the pandemic winds down — hopefully in the coming months.

“Reductions in commercial passenger activity and flight availability are expected to continue as non-essential travel restrictions and quarantine measures remain in effect,” he said.

“There are signs of optimism, however, as federal support for airlines will help to re-establish suspended routes and introduce new destinations to support an expected surge in demand for domestic leisure travel once it is safe to do so.”

While commercial passenger flights are less frequent than they were pre-pandemic, Ratuski said the airport remains fully operational for medical, wildfire, cargo and charter flights.

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