The COVID-19 pandemic caused passenger traffic at airports around the world to come to a near halt, but the industry has begun to recover, and Calgary has seen a massive rebound in passenger traffic this year.
The onset of the pandemic led to travel advisories, border closures, and recommendations to avoid all non-essential travel, along with public health measures that added various protocols and travel time for those who were flying.
In April 2020, the Calgary International Airport (YYC) saw a mere 68,075 passengers — a 95.2% decrease from the 1,414,975 people that came through the airport in April of 2019.
As public health measures and travel advisories remained in place, so did this trend, with YYC experiencing an 80.7% decrease in passengers in the third quarter of the year and a 78.5% drop in the fourth quarter, compared to the same periods in 2019.
Over the course of 2020, the airport saw a total decrease of 68.4% in passenger travel, with only 5,675,483 people coming through YYC after seeing 17,957,780 in 2019.
As the world has begun to open up again, however, the number of people travelling by air has started to trend upward, with YYC experiencing passenger growth of between 121% and 208% each month since April 2021.
Across the globe, public health measures have started to lift and borders have reopened, and Canada officially removed its non-essential international travel advisory in October. With these changes, YYC continues to see an increase in passengers.
In April 2021, 209,308 passengers flew through the Calgary International Airport, a 207.5% increase from the 68,075 travellers the airport had in April 2020. This number continued to grow throughout the summer months, and YYC saw more than 950,000 passengers in August 2021. This is over half of the 1,795,475 pre-pandemic travellers that YYC welcomed in August 2019.
In the third quarter of 2021, YYC had a total of 2,410,907 passengers (up 144.4% from the same time in 2020), and we can only expect that these numbers will continue into the final quarter of the year.
This trend continues across the rest of the country as well. Edmonton International Airport had 297,767 passengers come through its terminals in October 2021, an increase of 102.9% from the same month in 2020 and 56% of its pre-pandemic 2019 numbers.
Vancouver International Airport had 934,242 passengers travel through in September 2021, a 171.4% increase from 344,247 people in September 2020, and 41.1% of its total passengers in the same month in 2019.
In the east, Montreal’s YUL and YMX airports saw 738,025 passengers in August 2021, which is 65.5% of its 2,146,808 total in August 2019 and an increase of 195.3% from its 238,718 passengers in August 2020.
As travel continues to rebound, the Calgary International Airport had some exciting news earlier this week, with Lynx Air announcing that it would launch in Canada in 2022. The company’s headquarters will be based out of Calgary, and Lynx will add to the country’s ultra-low-cost air carrier options.