Below-average traffic at Edmonton airport will not return to normal for years: report

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EDMONTON – A new report suggests Edmonton International Airport will not see traffic levels return to pre-pandemic normal until 2024. Edmonton’s Regional Airports Authority saw its rating slightly downgraded from “A (high)” to “A” on Tuesday by rating firm DBRS Morningstar.

“Before the impact of the coronavirus, passenger volume declined 1.2% to 8.15 million in 2019, mainly because the Boeing 737 MAX planes were grounded in March 2019 and Edmonton’s economy was relaxed, ”the report says.

Passenger volumes have declined globally during the pandemic, either because of lockdowns or travel restrictions imposed by governments, or what DBRS has called “psychological aspects” for passengers.

“The impact started in March 2020 and passenger volumes in April and May 2020 totaled only 6% compared to April / May 2019,” DBRS noted of ERAA traffic.

ERAA forecasts 2.7 million passengers in 2020, a third of last year’s volumes.

According to DBRS, ERAA – which includes Edmonton International Airport and Villeneuve Airport – does not expect to return to 2019 levels until 2024, unless a vaccine is developed.

It is possible, the credit rating company noted, that the growth in the number of domestic travel could exceed that of international travel.

EIA spokesman Christopher Chodan confirmed that pre-COVID-19 levels were not expected for three to five years, calling the downgrade in credit rating “unfortunate if not surprising.”

“The aviation industry and the global economy as a whole have been significantly affected by COVID-19. EIA works hard to reduce our operating costs and capital expenditures while maintaining a safe and secure airport. ”

The DBRS report concluded that ERAA has sufficient liquidity to service short- and medium-term debt payments, and that no refinancing requirements are forthcoming.

Chodan said the EIA capital program was cut from $ 103 million to $ 28 million, and operations and maintenance spending by 38%.

On the day of the report’s publication, Flair announced new flights from Edmonton to Kelowna, Prince George, Toronto and Vancouver, citing customer demand for access to those areas.

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