(Saint John Airport Image)

Passenger volumes through the Saint John Airport are not expected to meet or exceed pre-COVID levels until at least 2025. The latest prediction was contained in the Airport’s Annual Report for 2020 released this morning. YSJ Board Chair Mark Bettle describes as “the most challenging year in the Saint John Airport’s history.”

The airport handled just over 280,000 passengers in 2018 and 2019. That number dropped to just over 59,000 in 2020 thanks to the COVID pandemic and resulting suspension of flights. The airport has been without commercial flights since early January of this year – but – Air Canada and Porter are scheduled to resume service late next month. New discount carrier Flair is scheduled to begin service to Toronto in July and regional carrier PAL is scheduled to begin service to Halifax in August.

Airport officials are predicting a slow and steady growth in post pandemic passenger volumes over the next 4 years with passenger numbers hitting 292,000 by 2025.

On the financial side – the Airport posted a 1.4 million dollar operating loss in 2020 thanks to a 71% decrease or 4.9 million dollars in revenue. The operating loss is expected to be in the 1.8 million dollar range for this year. Measures were taken to eliminate costs and capital expenditures that were non-essential to the safe operation of the airport. However – the audited financial statements show the facility has over 5 million dollars in cash and investments – and – is on a “solid financial footing.”