Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation Passenger Levels Remain at Record Lows

Sault Airport

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – Passenger traffic in December was down 85.1% with the drop in the first three quarters of the fiscal year April to December coming in at 89.9%. The past nine months of traffic levels are as follows:

Month Passengers Change from Previous Year
April 63 -99.6%
May 69 -99.6%
June 440 -97.5%
July 2,112 -88.8%
August 3,170 -84.8%
September 2,798 -83.4%
October 2,744 -85.3%
November 2,213 -86.2%
December 2,718 -85.1%

The Sault Ste Marie Airport Development Corporation is unique in the country being the only regional airport with no municipal or regional government affiliation; it is a private not for profit corporation that owns and operates the Sault Ste. Marie Airport. As such the SSMADC must self-fund all operational and capital costs with user fees, leases, and customer pay items such as car park and AIF (Airport Improvement Fee).

Aircraft traffic movements have also been greatly reduced during the pandemic the latest available data covers through October 2020 and shows the following levels for the past seven months:

Month Aircraft Movements Change from Previous Year
April 575 -91.0%
May 875 -89.6%
June 954 -87.7%
July 1,245 -81.0%
August 2,703 -57.1%
September 4,922 -12.3%
October 4,819 -23.2%

Bearskin Airlines is operating up to 2 flights Sunday and 4 daily flights Monday to Friday. Air Canada Express is offering up to one daily flight. This continues to be a major decrease in flight options compared to January of 2020 when Air Canada was flying 4 daily flights, Porter had up to 2 daily flights, Bearskin was flying up to 7 daily flights, and Sunwing was providing once weekly service.

Terry Bos President and CEO of the SSMADC stated “As the Airport operates on a user pay basis, the severe drop in passenger and aircraft movements has had a major impact on operations. The drops have resulted in a reduction in operating revenues of 63% and capital revenues (AIF) of 84%. As a result of the reduced revenue, and increased costs to provide a safe operating environment such as additional disinfecting, the SSMADC has had to look at all options to reduce expenditures which has unfortunately resulted in a reduction of staff levels by 41%”