Northwest Regional Airport manager Carman Hendry. (Quinn Bender photo)

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

Despite recently becoming the northwestern flight hub following a number of airport closures for the region, the manager for Northwest Regional Airport (YXT) says both air and passenger traffic is extremely low.

As of Mar. 24, Carman Hendry said the airport had seen a 50 per cent reduction in total flights. He adds that current passenger numbers are extremely low.

“[We had] an aircraft that takes 78 passengers, we were down to four passengers one flight the other day,” Hendry said, adding that the airport will eventually be moving to only two specific flight times a day. “Basically what’s happening is people are coming home and people are going home.”

Hendry said in response to COVID-19 the airport has enacted a number of enhanced sanitation measures. This includes increasing their janitorial services so they can be running while the airport is operating. There has been a concerted effort towards touch points such as door handles, flush knobs, railings and push buttons.

READ MORE: Air Canada to suspend flights to all Northwest airports except Terrace

As part of the above measures YXT is also asking anyone who is dropping off or picking someone up from the airport to stay out of the terminal to try and increase available space between individuals using the airport.

While Hendry noted the airport can’t remove all its seating options he said they are encouraging people to respect social distancing and to sit multiple seats apart on the airport’s benches. So far, it seems to be working.

“I did notice that [Tuesday] out in the terminal building that there were people sitting on the benches, but they were two or three seats apart from each other,” he said.

He said that as people head home he expects ridership numbers will drop even more. For now, YXT will do all it can to try and keep conditions as sanitary as possible.

“As the crisis continues people will eventually be where they have to be … but in the mean time we do have provide some way for people to get home.”

While ridership rates have dropped, it appears prices have remained relatively static. A search of a number of websites which sell plane tickets indicates prices for a round trip out of YXT to Vancouver International Airport are still hovering at just under $400.

YXT became the northwestern flight hub after Air Canada made the decision on March 19 to suspend flights to Prince Rupert, Smithers and Sandspit in an attempt to mitigate COVID-19 spread. All those flights are scheduled to resume May 1.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news channels were full of images of Mi’kmaq fishermen in New Brunswick battling federal fisheries officers over seized lobster traps. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Nisga’a Lisims Government calls on Prime Minister to act in N.S. fisheries dispute

NLG President: “We are shocked by what’s happening in Nova Scotia”

A nurse prepares a flu shot. The public vaccine for the 2020-2021 flu season is now in pharmacies in Terrace. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Private flu vaccines scarce at Terrace pharmacies

Public flu vaccines still available for those with greatest need

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read