Passenger volumes at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport are still way down compared to their pre-pandemic levels as COVID-19-related restrictions keep Canadians at home.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority released its first quarter of 2021 results Wednesday. Air passenger traffic was down 88% in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 before the pandemic hit.
The biggest drop in passenger levels was seen for international travel.
From January 1 to March 31, 2021, 600,000 domestic travellers passed through Pearson, and 500,000 international travellers caught flights.
By contrast, 3.1 million domestic travellers and 6.5 million international travellers passed through the airport during the same period in 2020.
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“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Canada’s aviation sector severely, and Toronto Pearson’s first-quarter financial and passenger results are representative of the challenges that the industry at large is facing,” said Deborah Flint, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said in a news release.
Pearson airport reports a $127 million loss for the first three months of the year, and the GTAA says it’s tough to predict when travel behaviour will go back to normal with COVID-19 resurgences and changing restrictions globally.
The Canadian government has deferred some of the GTAA’s land lease payments due to the pandemic. The airport authority is accessing federal assistance programs such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.