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Air travel rebound is not yet on the radar, border services passenger numbers show

Last Updated Sep 29, 2020 at 11:14 am MST

Figures from the Canada Border Services Agency show international air travel remains severely depressed due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of passengers arriving at Canadian airports from abroad last week is 93 per cent lower than it was a year earlier, similar to the rest of September and August but slightly up from the spring trough.

Travellers on flights from the U.S. — by far Canada’s largest foreign aviation market — were down 96 per cent.

The Canada-U.S. land border closure has been extended until at least Oct. 21 on top of a ban on foreign travellers, including most Americans, and the two-week self-isolation required of all Canadians returning from overseas.

The agency numbers come the same day the International Air Transport Association downgraded its global traffic forecast for 2020 to a two-thirds decline following what its director general called a “disastrous” August performance capping off the industry’s “worst-ever summer season.”

Canadian airlines have called on Ottawa to provide financial aid to the ailing sector and ease travel restrictions amid nascent COVID-19 testing at several airports.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press