Edmonton International Airport forecasts busier travel conditions as more flights resume

Martinez

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More travellers are expected to pass through the Edmonton International Airport as flight service increases after two tumultuous pandemic years.

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The EIA said in a Friday release that passenger levels in the airport’s main terminal for January and February this year more than tripled compared to the same time in 2021, adding up to a total of 471,685 travellers. Beginning next month, multiple airlines will start or increase service to numerous destinations, and EIA is anticipating a return to higher travel volume.

Edmonton’s airport saw fewer than three million total passengers in both 2020 and 2021, well below the pre-COVID total exceeding eight million travellers in 2019. Airports have struggled throughout the COVID pandemic as the global spread of the new coronavirus and emerging variants prompted governments to warn against travel unless strictly necessary, with some countries closing their borders entirely.

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The EIA says after all the new routes are in service, the airport will have 54 non-stop destinations — well above the 11 available last spring.

“Pre-pandemic EIA had 52 non-stop destinations and we’ve now returned to those levels and beyond, to provide the service our communities need and want,” EIA air service and business development vice-president Myron Keehn said in a statement.

The International Air Transport Association is forecasting worldwide passenger levels to grow to 3.4 billion in 2022. In 2019, the last year before the pandemic struck, that number was significantly higher, at 4.5 billion travellers.

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Public health measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 have been increasingly lifting across Canada and the U.S., but highly transmissible variants of the virus that causes COVID continue to circulate. Anyone older than 12  hoping to board a plane in Canada is required to show proof of vaccination against COVID. Testing is no longer mandatory to board a plane, but if you’re travelling internationally, some countries might still require a COVID test.

According to EIA, the end of March marks a return to pre-pandemic service to Amsterdam three times per week, and service is also restored for “sun destinations” like Mexico and Hawaii.

New or increased service to numerous cities in the U.S. and Canada will roll out in the coming months. A full list of EIA’s non-stop destinations can be found at flyeia.com/non-stop.

[email protected]

Twitter: @meksmith

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