A spokesperson for Victoria International Airport says measures announced Monday by the federal government will not change the airport’s schedule. (Black Press Media File)

New travel measures won’t impact schedule at Victoria International Airport

Passenger numbers down more than 30 per cent, according to one estimate

A spokesperson for Victoria International Airport says measures announced Monday by the federal government will not change the airport’s schedule.

“It’s important that people are clear on what actually has happened, because in the announcement today, [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] was very clear in saying that flights from the U.S. as well as sun destinations to Mexcio and Caribbean are not affected by this re-routing,” said Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations Monday morning. “So our direct flights outside of Canada, i.e. to the United States, or Mexico flights are not impacted by this. So those flights can still come directly to Victoria.”

According to Hunchak, the airport offers six flights to and from Mexico and one flight to and from the United States.

He made those comments after Trudeau announced that only four Canadian airports will receive international flights starting Wednesday: Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.

Trudeau announced this quartet of airports as part of sweeping measures that will see Canada close its borders to foreign travellers in an attempt to limit the spread of novel coronavirus. This said, he added that the measures do not apply to domestic flights and flights from the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. The measures do not apply to commerce or trade.

“We have no direct flights from Europe or overseas,” he added.

RELATED: Border closures, mandatory screening up for discussion amid COVID-19, Trudeau says

Trudeau also announced that air operators will ban anyone showing symptoms of the virus, from getting on a plane.

Hunchak said this announcement will not directly impact day-to-day operations.

“I know it’s just one more challenge for the travelling public, and folks here, who are expecting people to arrive,” he said.

Hunchak said the airport continues to monitor the situation and update the public through a special website.

Looking at the broader picture, Hunchak said the COVID-19 situation has already reduced the number of passengers travelling through the airport, but could not share exact data at this stage, adding it will likely take days to get an exact handle on numbers. He later estimated that passenger numbers are “easily down more than 30 per cent” since Friday last week.

Looking on the medium and long-term, Hunchak could not comment on specific plans. “Depending on how long this will last, we will have to see if we have to make any sort of adjustments to our planning,” he said. “Hopefully, this doesn’t last too long, but it is hard right now. It’s changing on a day-to-day basis as things unfold. Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our passengers and employees, and then other considerations will come into play.”


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