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Prince George Airport passenger numbers decline 96 per cent in April

‘It’s a double-edged sword’
YXS departures
Prince George Airport's departure entrance (via Facebook/YXS Airport)

Passenger numbers at the Prince George Airport (YXS) continue to drastically decline due to COVID-19.

The Prince George Airport Authority says data recorded for April’s passenger activity show a decrease of 96 per cent compared to the same month last year.

In 2019, April saw 42,911 passengers enplane and deplane, compared to just 1,899 last month.

“It’s a double-edged sword. Those numbers show people are listening to the advice of public health officials and avoiding non-essential travel, however as a not for profit organization, we rely heavily on passenger activity,” says President and CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA), Gordon Duke.

“We continue to lobby all levels of government for help as the aviation industry is going to take years to get back to pre-covid activity.”

The Prince George Airport Authority successfully applied for the Federal Government’s Wage Subsidy Program which is helping keep staff employed.

“We are taking advantage of this downtime to do a lot of runway maintenance, interior/exterior painting and training of our Operations staff” says Manager of Operations, Trevor Gust. “The long-term parking lot has never been as empty as it currently is, so we will use that to our advantage and make repairs and re-paint stalls.”

PGAA says it continues to see a reduction in airline activity and is expecting numbers to be even lower than April.

In June, Air Canada and WestJet will be operating flights four days a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday to Vancouver. Come July, Central Mountain Air will be flying three days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to Kamloops, Kelowna, Terrace/Kitimat and Fort St. John.

Prince George was not part of Pacific Coastal Airline’s phase one relaunch plan, but PGAA says it’s optimistic YXS will be part of phase two.

For those few still travelling for essential services, the airport restaurant and Internationals Area remain closed. Non-medical grade face coverings are mandatory as per Transport Canada.