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Compared to May 2019, COVID-19 dropped passenger activity at Prince George airport by 95 per cent

Air Canada will start daily flights to Vancouver starting June 18
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YXS Airport in Prince George. (via Facebook/Prince George Airport Authority)

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on airport operations at YXS.

The Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA) announced today (June 16) that operations took a major hit in May with less than 2,000 passengers coming through the airport and a 95 per cent reduction in passenger activity for the second straight month. 

In April, comparing 2019 to 2020, passenger numbers dropped 96 per cent from 42,911 to 1,899.

The Canadian Airports Council suggests a full recovery in the aviation market could take five years to get back to pre-COVID-19 service levels. 

“We continue to cut costs where we can, look for new revenue-generating opportunities and lobby all levels of government for financial help” PGAA President and CEO Gordon Duke says in a news release.

“Over the last month, we have presented our situation to our local MLAs, Members of Parliament, the Mayor and Senior Administration, the BC Chamber of Commerce and others. We will share our story with whomever will listen and advocate for our sector. We are a Not for Profit Corporation and we will play a significant role in kickstarting the Prince George and regional economy in a post COVID world.”

The authority also says it has received numerous calls for help from tenants, including rent deferral requests.

Budget Car Rental also took a hard hit, announcing they will permanently close their operations. 

As for flight schedules, Central Mountain Air will begin services again with a limited schedule starting July 7 to Kamloops, Kelowna, Terrace/Kitimat and Fort St. John three days a week. 

WestJet is flying to Vancouver four days a week and as of July 5, the airline will add a second flight to YVR, six days per week. 

Air Canada will begin flying to Vancouver daily starting Thursday (June 18). 

Passengers traveling for essential services must wear non-medical grade face coverings, as per Transport Canada rules. 

The restaurant and Internationals Area remain closed, PGAA officials say.

The authority has also eliminated short-term parking fees as long as you stay with your vehicle.