International flights resuming at eight additional airports a welcome step, but more work remains

Ottawa, ON, November 2, 2021…With holiday travel around the corner, the Canadian Airports Council welcomed the resumption of international flights to eight additional airports but pointed out that many Canadians are still waiting for these flights to return to their communities.

As of November 30th, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon, Waterloo, Hamilton, and St. John’s will be resuming international flights, bringing the total number of airports with international service to 18.

However, there are a considerable number of airports, including regional hubs with significant populations, like London and Moncton, that are still waiting to resume U.S. transborder and overseas service.

“We can see no reason why these communities have to wait any longer,” said CAC president, Daniel-Robert Gooch. “With 85 per cent of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, safety and heath protocols in place at every airport, and fully vaccinated travellers and workers across air transport very soon, we should be able to resume international flights to every community that had the service before COVID and start to remove other barriers to travel, like the pre-departure PCR test.”

According to Mr. Gooch, it would be a mistake to assume that airports have regained the ground lost during the pandemic, when travel was a tenth or less of what it had been the year before.

“Even with air service beginning to ease up in the summer and early fall, the third quarter of 2021 is only at 37 per cent of what it was in 2019 and just 20 per cent for international traffic. Airports are continuing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Every day that safe air access is delayed is a blow to airports’ fragile recovery.”

From the beginning of the pandemic, airports have been on the front lines to keep passengers and workers safe while still maintaining full operations, including access to remote communities and emergency services.

“One of the most important lessons from COVID was how important smaller regional airports are to the entire network,” said Mr. Gooch.  “They connect remote and northern communities to international hubs, and provide huge amounts of specialized care, including emergency and medical services.  Yet they are the ones that are waiting longest to regain international access.  If anything, international flights should be expedited to these communities, not further delayed.”


About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets.  In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Debra Ward

Canadian Airports Council

613 850 9118