The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly stalled air travel activity beginning in March 2020, resulting in the largest financial loss ever recorded by Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA).
This, and other details about how the pandemic affected HIAA and its plans for recovery, were presented today at its Annual Public Meeting, held virtually to comply with COVID-19 provincial public health protocols.
“In the 21-years HIAA has managed Halifax Stanfield, 2020 can easily be described as the most challenging year the airport has ever faced,” said Joyce Carter, president and CEO, HIAA.
“We quickly responded to the pandemic by supporting public health measures and travel restrictions, we implemented enhanced health and safety protocols, and we continued to, as always, put all our focus on safe airport operations. The drastic decline in activity, however, has eliminated most of our revenue streams and due to the lack of meaningful government support, we have been required to take on more debt to ensure this critical piece of transportation infrastructure remains open for our industry partners and community members.”
Pre-pandemic, Halifax Stanfield was home to 120 organisations supporting 5,600 jobs on-site, such as ground handlers, firefighters, accountants, hotel employees, aircrew, and more. A significant economic driver, contributing over $3.8 billion annually to the Nova Scotia economy, the airport plays an important role in supporting tourism, trade, investment, and immigration throughout the region.
“HIAA has worked incredibly hard over the past two decades, with its partners, stakeholders, community members, and government, to put Halifax Stanfield on the map,” said Carter.
“COVID-19 has certainly stalled the progress we’ve made, but we’re confident we will be ready to contribute to the success and recovery of our region, once the pandemic subsides.”