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Swoop looks ahead to easing of COVID restrictions, more service at Hamilton’s airport

Swoop hopes to increase passenger flights at Hamilton International Airport, as COVID travel restrictions are eased. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

Ultra-low-cost air carrier Swoop anticipates the return of service between Hamilton and three Canadian destinations by this summer.

Swoop Airlines has offered only three weekly flights from Hamilton International Airport to Edmonton and Abbotsford during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s planning the return of flights to Winnipeg and Halifax by June.

Read more: Hamilton’s airport confirms surge in cargo as leisure travel plummets

Airline president Charles Duncan says Swoop will also offer flights from Hamilton to Kelowna, B.C, hopefully starting in May.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for travel, when it is safe to do so,” says Duncan, “and I believe Hamilton airport is very well positioned to take advantage of that growth.”

As a direct result of pandemic-related restrictions, passenger traffic dropped by two-thirds from Hamilton’s airport in 2020, to 329,193 total passengers.

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That differs dramatically from the cargo side of the airport’s business, which saw a 24 per cent increase in cargo by weight last year, including the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines into Canada.

Read more: Swoop airline ends some flights from Hamilton airport

“We know we’re in a tough right time now,” says Duncan, but he says that Swoop is “optimistic about the vaccine rollout and what it means to ultimately opening the country back up.”

“Running any passenger airline, and particularly in Canada over the past 14 months, has been anything but a positive or optimistic experience,” adds Duncan.

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