The past few years have hit the tourism and travel sector hard, but throughout the pandemic, the Greater Sudbury Airport continued to ensure it provided a safe place for travellers.
Their airport's swift action to protect its passengers and airline personnel at the beginning of the pandemic was awarded a Safe Travels Stamp by the Worldwide Travel & Tourism Association for meeting and exceeding international health and sanitation standards.
While the airport saw passenger traffic drop significantly due to travel restrictions, Jean-Mathieu Chénier, director of marketing, airport excellence and innovation at Greater Sudbury Airport, said many workers still required it for travel, and the airport was committed to making it clean and safe.
"It basically came down to level and frequency of cleanliness and sanitation throughout the airport," he explained. "We had high-touch points that needed to be cleaned on a regular basis…our cleaning staff would go around and make sure that after every flight, the whole terminal was sanitized."
This high level of cleanliness is still in place for the airport as it aims for passengers to feel confident that they can travel safely.
Chénier added that outside the nuclear industry, the aeronautical industry is the most heavily regulated in Canada.
"It's all about safety and ensuring that the planes that fly are mechanically sound and can land and take off safely," he said, adding that the airport is constantly updating its infrastructure to ensure a safe experience.
The Sudbury airport is also receiving $2.6 million from a federal government program that will rehabilitate taxiways and tarmacs and add new LED lighting for the runway, helping it maintain its ability to be self-sustaining, Chénier explained.
The airport also has a new runway reporting system, upgraded its snow removal equipment and is looking at upgrading its vehicle parking system.
"It's all about that safety and security of passengers coming and going," he said.
As the connection to the world for Northern Ontario residents, many mining and service companies rely on the Greater Sudbury Airport for business.
"This airport plays a key connection for these companies that are exporting globally," he explained, adding that a large portion of Sudbury's labour force works abroad or in remote areas.
"We have a lot of miners…that are going elsewhere to create a wage, but that money is coming back into our community," he said.
Sudbury is also a hub for post-secondary education in northern Ontario and sees many international students moving to the area to attend school. The airport works with post-secondary institutions to create a welcome site in the terminal to help guide students and settle them into the community.
From maintaining high cleanliness standards to making travellers both entering and leaving Sudbury feel welcome and safe, Chénier said the airport is ready to take on more passengers whenever people feel ready to start travelling again.
To learn more about the Greater Sudbury Airport, visit their website.