Sudbury

What flying looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic

Chances are, you likely haven’t travelled a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Sudbury Airport says it’s already made changes to keep people safe as it anticipates more people starting to fly in the future.

Airline industry has been hard hit during pandemic

A man heads into the Sudbury airport to catch a flight wearing a mask, which is now required by the federal government. (Erik White/CBC )

Chances are, you likely haven't travelled a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Sudbury Airport says it's already made changes to keep people safe as it anticipates more people starting to fly in the future.

The airline industry has seen catastrophic losses since the start of the pandemic. Many airlines have reported an 80 to 90 per cent drop in revenue, and airports are feeling the impact as well.

Jean-Mathieu Chénier is the director of marketing, airport excellence and innovation at the Sudbury Airport. He says physical distancing hasn't been too much of an issue on planes during the pandemic as so few people are flying.

"Some airlines have been choosing not to sell out their planes," he said. "Some are selling at no more than 50 per cent capacity."

He says right now, airlines and airports are trying to regain customer confidence.

Chénier says for those who are choosing to travel, there are a few things that are now different about the airport. He says to start, you'll have to show up earlier than you're used to.

"At this time, we're still even limiting the number of people who can enter the terminal at one given time," he said. "There may be a lineup outside before you can go in."

Chénier says there is hand sanitizer readily available for people to use at the airport. He says airlines are taking temperature checks and passengers are being asked health screening questions.

He also advises bringing a mask.

"Some airlines are providing one for boarding because they have it as a mandate," he said.

Chénier says only those travelling are being allowed in the airport, meaning if you're being dropped off or picked up, you have to find that person you are meeting outside the building.

As for when the industry may return to normal, Chénier says that's hard to predict.

"We're all looking for that crystal ball that's going to tell us when things are going to come back but there's still a lot of uncertainty within the industry and how things may rebound."

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