PEI

Long lineups expected as Charlottetown Airport prepares for busy summer

The Charlottetown Airport is expected to be as busier or even busier this summer than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, says CEO Doug Newson. But that could also bring some challenges.

Airport officials recommending travellers arrive 2 hours before flight

Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, speaks during the annual general meeting Monday. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The Charlottetown airport is expected to be as busier or even busier this summer than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, says CEO Doug Newson.

But it could also mean some long lineups at times as they try to accommodate more flights with the same infrastructure.

"We are going to be enhancing our communication around that," Newson said.

"So we started it last week because even as of May 1st with Swoop starting and Air Canada going up to four flights a day, there are certain times a day, certain times a week, where we are expecting lineups that could be long."

Newson is advising travellers to arrive at the airport two hours before their scheduled flights.

"It's great to see recovery happening so quickly, but it is going to come with all of these challenges around infrastructure and lineups and things like that. So, you know, it's good news, but at the same time, we want people to travel in as low a stress environment as possible. So we just encourage people to get here a little bit earlier than normal during the summer months."

Newson said the mood at the airport is much more optimistic than it was last year. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, the airport had a record 383,000 passengers. In the last two years combined, there were about 180,000 passengers resulting in roughly $13 million in revenue.

The numbers and outlook for 2022 were presented Monday during the airport's annual general meeting.

The Charlottetown Airport will begin an expansion this summer to help accommodate an increase in flights. (CBC)

Newson said a strong 2019, and funding support from the federal government through the pandemic has the airport well-positioned to recover quickly, he said.

"It's starting to feel like an airport again here, even in the last couple of days. And so it is going to be an exciting and busy summer here at the airport."

The airport will begin an expansion of its departure lounge this summer, a project that was stalled during the pandemic.

"Anybody that will travel through here this summer will see just how tight we are in space. And so with growth of new airlines comes lots of revenue opportunities. But also, you know, we have to make sure we can handle it safely in terms of a good passenger experience."

With files from Laura Meader

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