Victoria International Airport cleared for international travel – Saanich News

The president and chief executive officer of the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) welcomes the resumption of international service, but has also tried to temper expectations.

The federal government announced on November 2 that Victoria International Airport, among eight airports across Canada, will reopen for international air travel from November 30.

Jeff Dixon said the announcement meant the resumption of international service, “something we’ve been expecting for a long time.”

International service at the airport was halted after the federal government limited outbound flights to and from four airports (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) on March 18, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know we have to follow the health and safety guidelines that are out there, and we are pleased that the federal government has made a determination that the conditions are right so that we can welcome this type of service again,” Dixon said.

“This means starting service again with Alaska Airlines (flying) to Seattle and connecting across the United States. There will be a return of some SunSpot flights to Mexico and we may also see the introduction of new service in Las Vegas with Swoop Airlines to name a few.” .

However, it may be some time before international flights fly to and from the airport.

“It’s very difficult for airlines,” Dixon said. They will need to make decisions about flight crews and aircraft. So we hope this creates some new opportunities for them.”

While the terms of international air travel will come into effect on November 30, it is not yet clear when international flights will resume given regulatory and logistical issues.

Dixon expects Alaska Airlines to begin services to Victoria around November 30.

When asked about flights to Mexico and Las Vegas, Dixon said some ambiguity remained but predicted, for now, that those flights would resume in January.

Dixon said international travel represented about 15 percent of the airport’s business before the pandemic. “It’s a big part.”

He noted that the airport has seen significant growth since 2018, when airlines United and Delta suspended their operations in Seattle and San Francisco. “What we hope is that reopening borders will start creating new opportunities.”

He hopes that will mean more opportunities for continued service in markets like Arizona or Southern California and to see non-stop service return to Hawaii. “We would definitely like to see the return of San Francisco service and we will be exploring other potential pivot markets in the US, markets like Denver.”

Overall, Dixon said traffic is going in the right direction.

“We were encouraged by the numbers we saw in August, September and October, as we operated at approximately 60 percent of pre-COVID levels,” he said. “It’s always hard trying to predict, but we think we’ll see that[reach pre-COVID levels]near the end of 2023 and into 2024.”

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