Airport sees continued decline

There continues to be a drastic decline in the number of passengers at the Prince George Airport due to COVID-19.

In April there was a 96 per cent decrease compared to last year.

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In April 2019 there were 42,911 passengers compared to 1,899 last month.

"It's a double-edged sword," Gordon Duke, president and CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA), said.

"Those numbers show people are listening to the advice of the government and avoiding non-essential travel, however as a not-for-profit organization, we rely heavily on passenger activity. 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 down time to do a lot of runway maintenance, interior/exterior painting and training of our operations staff," Trevor Gust, manager of operations, said. "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 repaint stalls."

This month still sees a reduction in activity at the local airport and it's expected numbers could be lower than April.

Looking ahead to June Air Canada and WestJet will be operating flights four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) to Vancouver.

Come July, Central Mountain Air will be flying three days a week (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 the airport authority is optimistic they will be part of phase two.

The PGAA continues to work with all airline partners to ensure a smooth and safe transition back into the terminal.

For those few still traveling for essential services, the airport restaurant and Internationals area remain closed.

Non-medical grade face coverings are mandatory as per Transport Canada.

The PGAA has also eliminated short-term parking fees as long as visitors stay with their vehicle.

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