Turbulent financial times for Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport

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Coronavirus: Turbulent financial times for Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport
WATCH: Even as other sectors of the Quebec economy prepare to reopen, non-essential travel seems unlikely to make a resurgence anytime soon. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, Montreal's Trudeau airport has seen a huge drop in passenger traffic forcing it to cut costs in order to survive the pandemic – Apr 29, 2020

Travel restrictions and low passenger traffic have forced Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to drastically cut costs to survive the ongoing pandemic.

Federal travel restrictions allowing only essential travel have grounded the majority of flights.

Usually, some 600 flights take off and land daily on the Dorval tarmac. But since mid-March, that has been reduced to 50.

READ MORE: Coronavirus ‘travel bubble’ idea gains steam but wouldn’t work for Canada, U.S.: expert

Officials estimate the airport will lose $250 million in revenue for the 2020 year.

The drastic drop in passenger volume has had an impact on both airport improvement fee revenue and aeronautical revenue, the Aeroport de Montreal statement reads.

While revenues are declining, some costs have increased, such as those related to more frequent cleaning and disinfection of the airport terminal building.

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“Our team’s priority right now is to maintain a level of service at the airport to facilitate the last safe repatriation of travellers and enable essential travel in Canada and abroad,” said airport spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel.

Aéroports de Montréal announced it will put in place “exceptional measures” to help keep the airport financially afloat.

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One of three runways, as well as the aeroquay building, and approximately one-third of the gates in the various jetties of the terminal, are closed.

Construction on numerous development projects on-site has been halted.

Senior management and directors have seen a 20 per cent salary reduction.

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“ADM needs to make difficult decisions that will allow it to continue to manage its assets responsibly,” said Philippe Rainville, president and CEO of ADM Aéroports de Montréal.

The number of travellers is expected to decrease by a minimum of 80 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 (April-June) compared with the same period of the previous year, officials project.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: U.S. and EU give airline passengers refunds, but Canada sticks with vouchers

The federal government has provided aid waiving property payments for a 10-month period.

While the temporary relief for the Montreal airport, approximately $38 million, is welcome, Rainville said it is still not enough for the organization to survive the turbulent times.

Federal travel restrictions will continue to be in place for the near future.

YUL is one of four Canadian airports operating as “hubs” for international flights during the crisis.

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