PEI

It's official: 2020 worst year on record for Charlottetown Airport

Charlottetown Airport officials had projected a record year for 2020, but it didn’t turn out to be the record they hoped for.

Number of passengers down 81 per cent from 2019

Charlottetown Airport is down to just one flight in and out per day. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Charlottetown Airport officials had projected a record year for 2020, but it didn't turn out to be the record they hoped for.

The final numbers are in, and they show what many observers already suspected — 2020 was the worst year on record for the Charlottetown Airport in the last 45 years.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns, just 71,480 passengers went through the airport last year, a decrease of 81 per cent compared to 2019.

Almost three-quarters of last year's passengers passed through from January to March, according to a news release. During the last nine months of 2020, passenger traffic was down almost 94 per cent.

Early projections were high

Early in 2020, Charlottetown Airport was projecting a record high number of passengers. In the span of five weeks, there were three announcements of new routes scheduled to launch in late June: WestJet service to Calgary, Swoop service to Hamilton, and Flair service to Toronto. However, in mid-March, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of flights and has since had a devastating effect on the airline industry.

The airport now has just one commercial flight a day. The Air Canada flight departs from Charlottetown to Montreal at 6:15 a.m., and arrives from Montreal at 9:36 p.m.

'Out of our control'

 "I have always said that there are a lot of factors that will influence passenger movements up or down, many of which are out of our control. What we went through in 2020 with COVID-19 is a perfect example of that," said Charlottetown Airport CEO Doug Newson in the release.

 "The hardest thing about the past year was to see first-hand how much the pandemic has impacted the lives of so many great people that work at the Charlottetown Airport, and those that rely on efficient air access for our province. We know that we will recover from COVID-19, and will be here to serve our passengers and our community when the time is right, but we also know it is going to take time to rebuild air access for Prince Edward Island."

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