The Canadian Rockies International Airport will receive $609,584 from the federal government to help recoup costs accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This grant, more than anything, is actually to compensate for deficits that have come up on the operational expense side of running the airport through the pandemic,” said Airport Manager Tristen Chernove. “All of the same processes of keeping an airport operating, whether it’s one or two flights a day versus 20 flights a day, it’s essentially the same.”
The funding comes from Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI).
Chernove said the cost of running the airport did not change much, but income, which it earns from passengers coming through, has dropped significantly.
“There was a significantly lower point in the earlier part of the pandemic where we were down to less than 20 per cent of our pre-pandemic passenger numbers,” said Chernove.
Since that low point, travel bans have been easied, and air traffic has begun to bounce back. Business has yet to return to what it once was, however.
“We’ve seen a reflective increase in passenger traffic. As of last month, we’ve grown to approximately 64 per cent of our pre-pandemic numbers, but that has tapered off a bit,” explained Chernove. “We’re surpassing 50 per cent of our pre-pandemic numbers right now.”
Altogether, the federal government is giving over $18.8-million in grants to 11 airports and two air carriers in B.C.
“We can’t contract the operational expenses with the operational losses, so this grant is extremely needed, and I’m delighted that we received this over $600,000 to help offset those losses,” said Chernove.