The authority that manages Victoria International Airport has lost nearly $ 50 million in revenue in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report, which also includes potentially positive news for the 10th Largest airport in Canada based on 2020 figures.
The figure of nearly $ 50 million in lost revenue appears in the Victoria Airport Authority board report presented to Central Saanich board on Monday.
â2021 has been another difficult year for Victoria International Airport as the aviation industry continued to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel,â reads. âOngoing health measures, border closures and evolving travel rules continued to impact passenger volumes and revenue. “
The report adds that the authority obtained an unspecified amount of debt financing from CIBC to help deal with the loss of cash. “With cost containment (Victoria International Airport) should make a small profit, items before cash,” he said. âInvestment projects have been reduced to a minimum.
The significant drop in revenue reflects the drop in passenger volumes. Passenger and aviation activities generally account for 90 percent of revenues. While the airport recorded over 1.9 million passengers in 2019, the number of passengers fell to just under 575,000 in 2020. Updated figures for 2021 show a nominal increase to just over 576,000 for 2021.
But the report also points out that the number of passengers increased “significantly” in the second half of 2021 in a trend that is expected to continue into 2022.
Developments such as the arrival of the low cost carrier Flair offering nonstop Edmonton, Calgary and Kitchener / Waterloo and the arrival of Swoop offering nonstop services to Edmonton and Calgary have spurred some growth. In the meantime, WestJet has launched non-stop services to Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa. International travel to the United States also resumed in late 2021 after the federal government lifted restrictions in effect since March 2020.
2021 also saw the completion or start of several new commercial developments on the airport grounds, including the completion of the new Titan Boats manufacturing plant and the marine spill response facility. from Western Canada. It’s likely that none have generated as much interest as the authority’s deal with York Realty leading to a large Amazon-operated warehouse across from a residential area in Sidney.
The building’s initial design (since revised) sparked considerable controversy as locals complained about the building’s appearance. The lack of consultation before the announcement also ruffled the feathers.
The report also informed the public of plans to correct a blind spot that rendered a $ 4.3 million taxiway extension unusable.
âThe final construction has been coordinated to accommodate CCTV cameras, which will provide (to air traffic control) the ability to see the newly constructed extension of the Echo taxiway and further allow aircraft to access the entire length of Taxiway Echo, “he said.
Overall, the report speaks of better days for the airport by predicting increased consumer confidence in air travel as vaccination rates rise and travel restrictions ease. That said, he also calls on governments to take a broader perspective on future pandemics.
âThe aviation industry routinely manages risk and recognizes that it cannot be entirely eliminated but managed in a way that moves people safely,â it read. âIt is a prospect for governments to examine how they can not only protect their citizens from the virus, but also how to protect citizens from unemployment. “
As a generator of nearly $ 1 billion a year in economic activity, a “thriving vital” airport is essential to the region’s overall economic vitality, it says.
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