After dropping in April, air traffic has improved a bit since then, but travel restrictions that persist due to the pandemic continue to have an impact.
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Compared to last year, air traffic recorded last September has fallen by an average of 62.6%, said Friday NAV Canada, the private company that manages air traffic in the country.
It measures air traffic using weighted charge units, an index established not only from the number of flights in the country’s airspace, but also by taking into account the size of the planes and the distance flown by these.
In April, air traffic fell by 74.7% compared to the same period last year while between March 2019 and March 2020, it had fallen by 28%.
Thus, after having fallen sharply between March and April, air traffic has continued to increase since then, even if we remain far from what we measured last year.
According to NAV Canada data, we went from 2,027 domestic flights on April 5 to 5,155 on September 5. In comparison, there were 12,350 flights on September 5, 2019, and 9,686 on April 5, 2019.
The company also announced last month that its workforce had to be cut by 14%, or more than 720 jobs. Before the pandemic, it numbered 5,100 people across the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having significant negative consequences on global air traffic and the aviation industry. According to forecasts by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), traffic for the full year will be 66% lower than 2019 traffic.
In Canada, it should be noted that September marks the sixth full month of border restrictions.
This week, Statistics Canada also reported that the number of foreign visitors who arrived in Canada by plane in the third quarter more than doubled from the second quarter.
In addition, the number of Canadian residents returning from abroad by air was two and a half times higher than in the second quarter.
Still, the number of international arrivals to Canada by air was low throughout the third quarter, due to continued travel restrictions, as well as reduced demand for international flights.
“Despite the increase from the second quarter, the summer tourist season has been relatively calm, with the number of foreign visitors and Canadians returning by air remaining well below normal levels, which average at approximately nine million arrivals by air during the period.