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Sault Ste. Marie airport traffic trending upward

Regional air carriers increasing daily flights to match passenger demand
Soo airport apron 4
(SSMADC photo)

Reduced pandemic-related travel restrictions have management at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation optimistic about the year ahead when it comes to aircraft and passenger movement.

The corporation released its February traffic numbers on March 9.

Passenger traffic in February saw a rebound from the major drop seen in January due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Up until the first month of this year, people movement through the airport had been slowly building through the latter half of 2021 and had reached 9,283 by December.

In a news release, airport management said passenger levels are down over 65 per cent from January 2020 when the number stood at 15,185.

The development corporation said the airlines stabilized capacity in February to try and match passenger demand.

The current number of flights provided by the three domestic airlines is as follows:

- Air Canada Express two flights daily

- Bearskin Airlines two flights Sunday, five flights daily Monday and Friday; and six flights daily Tuesday to Thursday

- Porter is providing one daily weekday flight, along with a Saturday departure and Sunday arrival

During all of 2021, the airport saw, surprisingly, a record number 67,725 in aircraft movements, a 92 per cent increase from the COVID-depressed movements of 2020, which stood at 35,247. It also bested the previous all time high set in 2015 of 66,806 movements.

The airport said this increase was due to the expanding general aviation community at the airport, the new addition of aircraft charter service with Shaire Inc., and the expanding flight training taking place at Sault Academy of Flight Inc. (SAFI) and the flagship aviation flight training program at Sault College

“With the easing of restrictions both provincially and for travel there was an improvement over the lockdown levels of January," said Terry Bos, Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corp. CEO.

"It is hoped that with the continued easing of restrictions and hopefully some additional easing in travel-related restrictions that a positive recovery trend will start to take hold.”