Concerns for airports in the Northwest continue to rise

Divya Gill 
11/19/2020

It does not come as a shock that small airports have been hit the hardest during the pandemic. Prince Rupert manager Rick Leach and Smithers Manager Rob Blackburn explained how the idea of keeping afloat remains a top concern.
 
"What makes Prince Rupert a little more challenging is that our airport is on an island, so I don't have some of these additional revenues. I rely heavily on tickets sold. With that were probably down at least 80 percent." explained Leach.

"The difficulty is unlike a highway or a lot of other businesses. You might be able to take a pause and not have revenue for a couple of weeks. We are not able to stop the expenses carry on day today. We still have to have some staff. We still need to have kept the facility open and operational. It is very difficult." said Blackburn.
 
They went on to explain the concerns they have of even just surviving the winter months.

"Its airports like mine, we need. It will cost loans to that nature, but they aren't doing much good because I don't have and will run out of money, and I cannot pay it back. Now we'll probably have to make this stretch as best we can till next spring." Leach addressed.

"The airport is solely funded from user's fees and terminal fees that the airline pays us. With the charter flights coming, they are certainly helping keep the doors open. The few commercial flights are also coming in help, but it's nowhere near enough." Exclaimed Blackburn.
 
In a recent town council meeting for Smithers, councillors approved a five thousand dollar expenditure for a joint marketing campaign with the Smithers Chamber of Commerce to increase usage of the regional airport.

Leach addressed in the absence of additional support from the federal government, his airport may need to look for additional support from the city.

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