Ottawa Airport bounces back to more than half of its passengers since the pandemic struck

Things are looking good for air travelers in Ottawa! Ottawa International Airport has recovered more than half of its passengers since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020.

“We are at about 65% of our passenger volume,” said Krista Kealey, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

In 2021, Ottawa Airport served 1,171 million passengers, a decrease of 14% from 2020. Meanwhile, the number of pre-pandemic passengers was 5.1 million in 2019. The airport now has an average of about 5,000 departing passengers per day, and in total about 10,000 passengers.

“The pandemic has been devastating to our finances, to any part of the finances or concession partners. Everyone is suffering, everyone is in recovery,” Kealey said.

Part of the airport’s pandemic recovery, Kealey adds, is working to open more shops and restaurants to boost its financial situation.

“Before the pandemic hit, we were doing a major concession renewal and building new concessions,” she says. “And so that had to take a break, but we’re working with our partners to get as much done as quickly as possible, and then we can offer more food and drinks to our customers.”

Human resources remain a major challenge for both the airport and the airlines it works with. “The workforce is very shallow at the moment and so they are doing everything they can to move up.”

During the pandemic, the Ottawa airport has been working to keep up with COVID-19 health regulations and protect people, Kealey says. “You know, people are still waiting for that sense of comfort, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we have a safe, efficient environment for them.”

But 2021 also saw more travel among Ottawa-Gatineau residents, according to information from the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

In June, the airport saw more domestic passengers. It also added some flights such as New York and Washington. Thank God!

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