Updated figures from the Victoria Airport Authority show the number of transborder passengers travelling through Victoria International Airport (YYJ) down 30.9 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

Number of U.S. passengers coming through Victoria International Airport down by 30 per cent

COVID-19 not yet a factor to affected numbers

The number of passengers travelling between the United States and Victoria through the Victoria International Airport (YYJ) has dropped since last year.

In statistics published by the Victoria International Airport, it states that in January 2019 transborder passengers totalled 18,600, while in 2020 it was down to 12,855, a difference of 30.9 per cent.

The recent dip, however, is not being attributed to fears about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

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“The downturn in transborder passengers are a direct result of both United Airlines and Delta Airlines pulling out of the Victoria market,” said Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations at the Victoria International Airport (YYJ). “While Alaska Airlines has maintained direct service between YYJ and Seattle, there hasn’t been the uptake of passengers on their flights to make up for the loss of the Delta service.”

Previously, United Airlines had taken passengers to San Francisco and Delta had taken passengers to Seattle.

In the meantime, international flight numbers are up by 29.8 per cent compared to last year, thanks to service to Mexico by Air Transat, WestJet and Sunwing.

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The threat of COVID-19 may still show up in the numbers, however.

“There’s a heightened awareness of COVID-19’s impact to the economy, and in consultation with our partners and stakeholders, we’re monitoring what potential impact it may have on people’s travel plans and business in general at the airport,” Hunchak said. “I believe that as this continues over the next few weeks, we may be able to start to see any impact to our projected passenger numbers and potentially draw some conclusions based on that.”

More numbers for February are scheduled to be published soon.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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