Regina airport passenger traffic tripled from May to July
Passenger traffic at the Regina International Airport rebounded in the month of July following Saskatchewan’s reopening.
James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, said the number of passengers coming through YQR has more than tripled since May.
“We’re trending at over 35 per cent, a heck of a lot better than where we were at nine per cent in May,” Bogusz said, in an interview with CTV Morning Live Regina.
While the airport remains in a challenging financial spot due to the past 15 months of limited air travel, Bogusz said the upwards trend is a positive sign.
“The optimism of finally seeing a passenger rebound has certainly caused a sigh of relief here at the airport. We have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track,” he said.
Following the lead of airports in the United States, Bogusz hopes the airport could get much closer to pre-pandemic traffic levels within the next year. He said U.S. airports are currently averaging around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger levels.
“I can only hope we follow suit and hopefully in six or eight months we’ll at least be back to 60, 70 per cent and working our way back to normal,” Bogusz said.
“It’s hard to know though, until those international restrictions are lifted and we basically have a little more relaxation in a few other provinces to know when we could peg that date, but its coming a lot sooner than it was a few months back.”
For potential travellers looking to fly out of YQR, some COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. While the mask mandate was lifted in Saskatchewan on July 11, face coverings are still mandatory on the second floor during pre-board screening, and when lined up or on aircraft.
Masks remain optional in other areas of the building.
“Everyone’s going at their own pace, so just please give some space and be patient with people’s choices, everyone’s going to be taking some time of course to recover from this pandemic,” Bogusz said.
INTERNATIONAL STATUS UPDATE
The international status of YQR is still up in the air, as the airport awaits word from the federal government.
Transport Canada announced in January that Regina – and numerous other airports in Canada – could lose international status if certain requirements were not met.
“Right now, much like many other airports in the country of our size, [we are] still in limbo,” Bogusz said.
The airport has new routes planned through Sunwing, with non-stop service to six sun destinations starting in December. However, the airport is still working out the details with regards to those flights.
“We just hope to understand what requirements we’re going to have at the airport to accept those flights come the winter. Still a work in progress,” he added.
Airports hoping to keep their status had to make their case to Transport Canada by the end of June.