Calgary

Calgary airport will remain open to international flights but predicts big financial hit

Starting Wednesday, Calgary will be one of only four airports in Canada that will continue to accept international flights, along with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, but it's predicting a significant hit to its budget.

Trudeau announced airport would be one of only 4 in Canada to continue accepting international flights

The Calgary airport is one of only four across Canada that will continue to accept international flights. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Starting Wednesday, Calgary will be one of only four airports in Canada that will continue to accept international flights, along with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, but it's predicting a significant hit to its budget. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Monday as part of his government's measures to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic. 

He also reminded Canadians overseas to return home while it is still possible to do so. 

Domestic flights, as well as those coming from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and St-Pierre-Miquelon will not be included in the new restrictions. 

"Our immediate priority is sustaining essential services to facilitate the swift, safe return of Canadians abroad," said Bob Sartor, president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority.

The airport said Canadian Border Services and the Public Health Agency of Canada have stepped up screening at the facility, and improved signage around self-isolating and COVID-19 is anticipated. 

The airport authority said it anticipates at least a 30 per cent drop in passenger volumes this year compared to last — approximately five million travellers. 

"The authority is forecasting the decrease will equate to approximately $100 million in lost revenue, close to 25 per cent of the authority's annual $450-million budget," said Sartor.

Those figures are based on the assumption that the pandemic and its effects will last throughout the year. 

He said there has been an impact on domestic flights as well as international. 

Sartor said the airport would remain open to move people and goods throughout the pandemic. 

The airport authority is working with retailers at the airport to reduce hours "and to ensure appropriate service levels and staff well-being."

The familiar white hat volunteer program has also been suspended. 

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