Halifax Stanfield International Airport is celebrating a successful 2022.
With travel restrictions in place, the airport experienced passenger volumes plummet during the pandemic.
Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, in 2019 Stanfield International saw 4,188,443 passengers. That figure dropped to 995,426 in 2020. 2021 saw a slight year-over-year increase to 1,076,458.
Safety protocols lingered into early 2022, but the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) says things started rebounding in late spring. On some peak travel days last year, volumes even surpassed where they were before the pandemic.
In total, the authority says 3,107,425 passengers passed through Halifax's airport last year, a staggering 189 per cent increase, making ours Canada's second fastest-recovering Tier 1 airport and the country’s sixth busiest airport.
“Surpassing the three million passenger mark feels like an incredible milestone in our airport’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HIAA's CEO Joyce Carter in a news release.
“Everyone at Halifax Stanfield has been working incredibly hard, and this year-end result exceeds our expectations and strongly indicates that we are on the right track.”
The recovery has not been without it's bumps.
Both airports and airlines have experienced the same staffing issues seen in other industries, but 70 per cent of the terminal's concessions are now open, up from 10 per cent at the height of the pandemic.
And pilot shortages continue, which means airlines haven't yet brought back service to some destinations, and have even cancelled some they had planned to resume.
Despite that, HIAA says it welcomed 11 new non-stop routes in 2022.
“Ongoing challenges, such as the pilot and overall labour shortage, aircraft availability, and inflation, have made us cautiously optimistic about what 2023 will bring, but we can certainly look back on 2022 as a busy year at Halifax Stanfield,” Carter added.
“We are proud to be Atlantic Canada’s largest airport and one of Canada’s fastest-recovering airports, and we are well-positioned for what’s to come.”