Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about the plight of the travel industry at the hands of the COVID pandemic. Widespread closures or severely encumbered operations have led to lay-offs such as Westjet’s announcement this week of several thousand more workers receiving notification of work reductions.
Saskatchewan airports have also been hit hard, leading to more lay-offs and concerns about the ability of this infrastructure element to get back on its feet when the pandemic is over and people are willing to fly again.
To get a flavor for just how severe the cutbacks, new numbers from StatsCan are helpful since most of us, nearly all of us actually, are not using the airports so we don’t get to see the situation firsthand.
In April, 141,000 Canadians flew to the US. That represents a 94-percent reduction. The number of Canadians flying to another country? Down 99.4 percent. No wonder airlines or airports are finding it hard to make ends meet.
The story is not much better for those driving across the border. The number of day trips to the US from Canada fell 88-percent, more like 98-percent if it involved an overnight stay.