COVID-19 pandemic 'erased 25 years of passenger growth' at Calgary International Airport
The Calgary Airport Authority released its 2020 report at its annual general meeting, highlight a number of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations. (File)
CALGARY -- The Calgary Airport Authority says it will take at least five years before it sees a return to normal passenger levels and revenues, which is just one of the findings in its annual report.
The agency released the report at its annual general meeting and said 2020 presented a number of challenges for the airport because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report says passenger numbers were down by more than 50 per cent in 2020, which saw 5.7 million guests as compared to 18 million in 2019.
2021 doesn't look much better, the authority says, with current forecasts sitting at 5.1 million guests.
YYC hasn't had such low travel numbers since 1995.
"The pandemic decimated demands for travel and erased 25 years of passenger growth at YYC," said Bob Sartor, president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority in a statement.
To aid in the recovery of the airline industry, Sartor is calling on the federal government's help to collaborate on programs, such as Alberta's International Border Pilot Testing Program, to prove that air travel is safe.
COST OF TRAVEL COULD GO UP
Since it will take several years for the airline industry to recover post-pandemic, the Calgary Airport Authority says passengers could be seeing higher prices on fares.
Some of the reasons for that could be increased costs of safety measures, airlines recouping their losses and a number of other reasons.
Some of the other highlights from the annual report include:
- A revenue decline of 60 per cent in 2020, resulting in a $23 million deficit
- Additional $68 million in debt, leaving YYC with a total debt obligation of $2.98 billion
- 50 per cent of the terminal space closed down
- 80 per cent of restaurants and shopping locations temporarily closed
- 80 per cent drop in demand for parking, taxis and ridesharing
- 50 aircraft parked in long-term storage
YYC EMPLOYEES UNDERGOING TESTING
In order to help control the spread of infection among its employees, the Calgary Airport Authority launched a COVID-19 screening program this week.
The free and voluntary tests take 20 minutes to provide results and reduce the risk of asymptomatic individuals from coming into close contact with others.
"(It) reflects our ongoing commitment to safety, providing an extra layer of protection for our employees," the agency wrote.
YYC says it also experienced declines in airlines (21 to eight) and destinations (88 to 42) through 2020.
The 2020 annual report can be found here.