Thunder Bay

Chauffeur service says trips to Thunder Bay airport back to pre-pandemic levels

A chauffeur service in Thunder Bay says the number of trips it's making to the northwestern Ontario city's airport is back to pre-pandemic levels.

'It just seems like everyone had this pent-up desire to travel,' says owner

Lawrence Deswiage, pictured with his wife Trisha, owns Driverseat Thunder Bay. He says business has picked up even from two months ago. (Supplied)

A chauffeur service in Thunder Bay says the number of trips it's making to the Thunder Bay airport is back to pre-pandemic levels.

Driverseat Thunder Bay, which provides services for corporate as well as leisure travellers, told CBC News it makes at least two dozen trips daily to the northwestern Ontario airport.

Two months ago, that figure was just a couple of trips a week.

"We didn't know what to expect once the restrictions were eased up," said Lawrence Deswiage, owner of Driverseat Thunder Bay.

"But it just seems like everyone had this pent-up desire to travel, and as soon as those restrictions were lifted, the calls just started coming in."

Deswiage said if current trends continue, his business could be transporting more people to the airport than it did pre-pandemic.

"It's a mixture of business, pleasure, corporate clients that we had prior to the pandemic that all kinda cancelled, or stopped using us as the pandemic hit, but I'd say we're probably back at almost 100 per cent levels before the pandemic, and with the next couple of weeks, we'll be at 200 per cent of where we were before."

He said the restart of Porter Airlines service in September will be a major indicator if travel has returned to its previous levels.

Deswiage said his major challenge is recruiting enough drivers to keep up with demand. His business is like many that have been impacted by the pandemic and a labour shortage, he added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Former CBC reporter

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff worked in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario.

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