Windsor

City officials calling for airlines to resume flights at YQG airport sooner than scheduled

The Windsor International Airport has a number of upsides that would make it appealing for airline companies to resume flights at YQG sooner rather than later, officials said Tuesday.

Smaller airport size will reduce risk of transmission, says CEO

All commercial flights at Windsor International Airport have been suspended since early April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (CBC News)

The Windsor International Airport has a number of upsides that would make it appealing for airline companies to resume flights at YQG sooner than scheduled, officials said Tuesday.

During a media conference involving airport CEO Mark Galvin and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens — who also serves as YQG board chair — the two discussed "the new normal" for airlines and travellers once flights begin to resume. Since April, all commercial flights to and from YQG have been suspended.

Porter Airlines and Air Canada are scheduled to resume commercial flights out of Windsor in July and September, respectively. On Tuesday, officials said the airport will have PPE, like masks and sanitizer, available for travellers when commercial flights resume.

Galvin said Windsor International Airport has a great opportunity to rebound from the devastating effects of COVID-19 compared to other airports where airlines have suspended service.

"People are going to gravitate toward areas where they feel a little more comfortable. We're in a position to take advantage of our location and provide a less-frenzied environment for travellers," said Galvin.

Galvin said the YQG airport has experienced "leakage" in the local market, as some travellers from Windsor commonly drive across the Canada-U.S. border to fly out of Detroit — but he added the airport will do everything it can "to give passengers a reason to fly in and out of YQG."

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, who also serves as YQG board chair, says he hopes Air Canada will consider resuming flights at Windsor International Airport before doing so at other airports where the airline has suspended commercial service. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

"The things that we can do at a smaller terminal in a smaller airport are going to be a little more difficult for a larger airport to do," said Galvin, adding there may be trepidation from some travellers to fly out of Detroit even when the border opens up again as fears around COVID-19 continue.

The value of the American dollar compared to its Canadian counterpart has always been a benefit to YQG airport, as travellers would cross the border from Detroit and fly out of Windsor, Dilkens said, adding that's something the city will refer to when appealing to Air Canada.

People are going to gravitate toward areas where they feel a little more comfortable. We're in a position to take advantage of our location and provide a less-frenzied environment for travellers.- Mark Galvin, CEO of Windsor International Airport

"There are literally millions and millions of people within a 45-minute drive of this airport," said Dilkens.

"[With] the fact that Air Canada has indicated September 8th as a restart date, we think that there's a great business opportunity for them to consider coming back earlier and making sure that YQG is part of the mix earlier than some of the other airports that they've also suspended service to until that time."

Dilkens also said Tuesday that the city is expected to lose a portion of an annual $1 million dividend that the airport normally pays to the municipality since 2015 — because of significant revenue losses caused by the pandemic.

About the Author

Sanjay Maru is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email him at sanjay.maru@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now