'It’s a significant impact': Edmonton airport officials respond to flight suspensions
The Edmonton International Airport in December 2020.
EDMONTON -- Officials at the Edmonton International Airport said the federal government's announcement to halt flights to Mexico and the Caribbean will have a "significant impact" on Canada and Edmonton.
Steve Maybee, vice president of operations and infrastructure at EIA, said the airport is already struggling – dealing with a year-over-year reduction in passengers by up to 90 per cent.
"It's gone from 8.2 million down to 2.6 million passengers," he said. "As an airport we are currently losing thousands of dollars every day."
Airport officials said the latest announcement – set to take effect Sunday – will impact about three flights a week at EIA.
"It's important to note these aircraft are carrying more than just passengers. The bellies of these aircraft carry a lot of freight into the Edmonton region and out of the Edmonton region," Maybee told CTV News Edmonton.
"Our economy relies on the ability to import and export goods and that will not happen as effectively right now with these aircraft being grounded."
The announcement has also delayed plans to bring the international border testing pilot project set up in Calgary, to Edmonton, he said.
He also expects strict federal travel rules to remain in place until after reading week and spring break.
"I would anticipate the government wants to get through those peak travel times and keep people home and keep people safe," said Maybee.
"Then hopefully in April we can start to look to the future and testing protocols that are in place, these testing protocols are proving to be effective and efficient so we need to move forward."