Nova Scotia Journal

Province declares almost $20M for Halifax, Sydney airports to draw new flights

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • Budget to offer pandemic relief and draw new airlines and flights.
  • Passenger traffic at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport has recovered to nearly half of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

The Nova Scotia government handed out almost $20 million in the budget on Friday to help airports in Sydney and Halifax recover from the outbreak and lure new airlines and flights.

Bob McNeil, chair of the J. A. McCurdy Sydney Airport authority, states the capital reserves were finished over the previous two years, only keeping the lights on.

The authority is receiving $5.3 million, which will fix the bank accounts and be used to repair runways and the aging terminal.

“This is a big lift because this lets us modernize our infrastructure,” McNeil said. “This sets the ship right again.”

Sydney is bringing another $1 million in air access budget to entice new airlines and flights.

Pandemic healing

CEO Mike MacKinnon said that’s fewer funds than the infrastructure budget, but it’s nearly more critical.

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The Nova Scotia government handed out almost $20 million in the budget on Friday to help airports in Sydney and Halifax

It means the airport can not only reset after the pandemic but can also grow in the future.

“We never had that power in the past, so this is thrilling,” he said.

The airport was active on Friday, and MacKinnon said passenger traffic is almost 55 percent of what it was in 2019, before the pandemic.

But the summer is looking good, with WestJet and Air Canada adding nearly 18 percent more capacity than they had in Sydney in 2019.

The inquiry is whether that increased capacity will translate into expanded passengers, which is where airports make their cash, MacKinnon said.

“Whether or not we’ll fill all those seats stays to be seen, but clearly, the airlines would not put that additional seat capacity in unless they saw signs that the bookings were robust, and they have seen that.

Source – cbc.ca

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