Winnipeg airport sees 93% drop in passengers amidst 2020 COVID-19 holiday season

Airport traffic down during holiday season in Winnipeg, Man. Global News

As we head into what is usually one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport is reporting a drastic decrease in passenger travel this year.

“During the holiday season in the peak days leading up to Christmas, in recent years we’ve seen approximately 15,000 to 16,000 travellers a day on those peak days,” Jen Cameron, communications manager for the Winnipeg Airport Authority. “There’s far fewer passengers travelling over this holiday season and approximately 1,000 passengers moving through the airport each day at this time.”

That’s approximately a 93 per cent drop in travellers flooding through the holiday hub.

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The same drop in passengers is seen across airports in Canada.

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Officials at Edmonton International Airport say in general the Friday before Christmas is their busiest day of the year, but this year will be one of the slowest holiday seasons in 20 years.

“It’s quite a different year for us at the airport,” said Steve Maybee, vice president of operations and infrastructure with Edmonton Airports. “We usually staff up and have people here working early mornings and doing everything we can to get people through the process much quicker. We’re not going to have that pressure this year, which is unfortunate, but we absolutely understand why people are choosing to stay home for their safety.”

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In Winnipeg, peak travel days around Christmas have been the 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 27th and 29th of December. Officials say they expect more than the current 1,000 travellers around those days.

“We’re expecting to see a small rise in that number in the peak days before and after Christmas Day,” Cameron said.

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With files from Caley Ramsay and Kim Smith, Global News.

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