Air passenger traffic down significantly year over year – Sault Airport

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Passenger traffic in March was down 84.5% compared to 2020 and 92% from 2019, with the fiscal year (April to March) drop coming in at 89.8%.  The traffic levels for fiscal year 2020/2021 are as follows:

Month Passengers Change from Previous Year
April – June 572 -98.89%
July – September 8,080 -85.70%
October – December 7,675 -85.52%
January 1,619 -89.34%
February 1,100 -93.00%
March 1,479 -84.48%

The Sault Ste Marie Airport Development Corporation is unique in the country being one of only two regional airports 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 were also greatly reduced during the pandemic the latest available data covers through January 2021 the table below outlines levels for the past ten 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%
November 3,684 -18.7%
December 3,093 49.8%
January 2,650 -30.9%

Bearskin Airlines is operating up to 2 flights Sunday and up to 4 daily flights Monday to Friday.  Air Canada Express is offering five flights per week.  This continues to be a major decrease in flight options compared to April of 2019 when Air Canada was flying 5 daily flights, Porter had up to 3 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 “The 2020/2021 fiscal year was certainly a difficult one.  However, there are certainly signs of encouragement from the pick up of traffic levels in the US as more people of received vaccinations and restrictions have lifted.  With the continued roll out of vaccinations in Canada and the hopes that everyone will have one by summer, it is hoped that restrictions in Canada will also loosen and traffic will return.”

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