Hamilton’s airport generally unaffected by delays and cancellations amid spike in summer travel

An executive at Hamilton's international airport says it's generally been unaffected by delays and cancellations plaguing larger Canadian airports amid a resurgence in summer travel.

An executive with Hamilton’s international airport says few flights at the airstrip are being impacted negatively by the recent unprecedented rebound in travel by Canadians this summer.

John C. Munro’s business development and customer experience director, Dina Carluccci, says current industry-wide issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have not translated to widespread cancellations and delays at the airport.

“We don’t have the type of issues that the larger airports are facing,” Carluccci said.

Read more: Air Canada, Pearson again rank No. 1 in delays worldwide; Montreal check-in freezes

“To give you a perspective of that, if we moved 420 aircraft through the month of June, we saw a cancellation rate of two per cent.”

Carlucci said delays are also “very minor in nature” with maybe 10- to 15-minute holdups on some, typically resulting from issues at airports that Hamilton flights connect with.

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“We don’t have a lot of international flights through the summer. We’re flying into St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Las Vegas, and those flights are a small portion of the total flights that we have,” Carlucci said.

“A lot of what you’re seeing on the news has to do with international flying, customs processing bags, etc.”

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Worldwide, airlines and airports have been struggling to cope with a massive travel resurgence amid staffing issues that are cascading into flight cancellations, baggage delays and endless queues.

Flight tracking website FlightAware recently measured the magnitude of the problem, with Toronto’s Pearson International being tagged as the world’s worst airport for delayed flights.

Data extracted between May 26 and July 19 showed 52.5 per cent of Pearson’s flights were delayed — the only one in the world that had more than half of its flights impacted.

Number two on the list, Frankfurt in Germany, weighed in at 45.4 per cent, while Charles de Gaulle in Paris checked in at 43.2 per cent.

Pearson was fourth in cancellations during the same period with 6.5 per cent of its flights nixed.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in China was number one with 7.9 per cent of all flights cancelled.

Read more: WestJet ‘proactively’ removed flights from Pearson, anticipating summer travel snarls

Carlucci said the airport is having ongoing conversations with airlines about the possibility of having overflow from Toronto’s Pearson and Billy Bishop airports fly to Hamilton as an alternate.

The airport has cited pre-COVID usage hitting 955,373 passengers in 2019, representing 32 per cent growth over 2018, mainly through seasonal routes from small carriers.

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“There is a population in close proximity to the airport, when you look at other areas in the catchment, like London and Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara Falls, so we’re a great alternate to get off the highways to Toronto,” Carlucci said.

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