Listen Live
HomeNewsComox ValleyComox Valley Airport expecting traveller volume increase over holidays

Comox Valley Airport expecting traveller volume increase over holidays

As air travel slowly wakes up following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Comox Valley Airport is expecting a jump in passenger volume ahead of the holiday season.

Market development manager Erin Neely says the airport saw a peak of holiday travel in December 2018, where over 36,000 passengers came through.

Neely says numbers dropped off with the pandemic beginning and their December 2019 baseline is at 35,447 passengers.

The airport is hoping to see roughly 80 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger volumes for December 2022, with high volumes between Dec. 16 and Jan. 2.

- Advertisement -

Comox Valley Aiport CEO Mike Atkins says they are well set up to handle the extra passengers and hope no other issues out of their control will show up.

“We’ve got staffing levels across all of our services and so we don’t anticipate any challenges to the Christmas season, barring Mother Nature who always gets a vote,” said Atkins.

Atkins adds they are not concerned about issues similar to the West Jet outage in November. He says he has been told that was a one-time failure of a data centre.

The airport’s connection with 19-Wing CFB Comox also helps them, especially in the case of weather.

- Advertisement -

“We’ve got outstanding support from 19 Wing Comox in terms of snow clearing and ice control,” said Atkins. “Even at the worst of times they can normally keep our runways open and keep the flights flowing.

“Impacts to the system in other locations can also impact the arrival and departure of airplanes here.”

Atkins adds the largest impact to traffic volumes is the industry needing more staff which limits the number of people who can travel through airports.

The solution will simply take time as the industry recovers, according to Atkins.

- Advertisement -

“Two years of pandemic have impacted everybody, mostly on the recruiting and the training side and that’s what we’re seeing now,” said Atkins. “As they move pilots up and flight crews up to larger airplanes, they’re having some difficulty backfilling them on the smaller airplanes.

“I think in time the system will catch up and we’ll get back to those pre-pandemic levels.”

With volumes expected to rise, they ask you to arrive early and check-in counters open two hours before flight departure.

They also recommend checking in online, making sure your government ID is current and acceptable for travel, arranging a ride ahead of time, and understanding your airline’s baggage limits and security requirements.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -