Sunwing flight to Mexico marks start of Saskatoon airport ‘recovery’

A plane took off at the Saskatoon airport at 10:15 am Thursday morning bound for Mexico, and with it came a little hope.

“I think it’s our first step in recovery, a long recovery process,” said CJ Dushinski, vice president of business development and quality of service for the airport.

The Sunwing flight was the airport’s first international departure since March 2020, it said.

The aviation and travel industry still has a long way to go, but the flight was a huge milestone, he said.

“I think it was just, you know, a sense of relief, almost a sense of excitement that we may have been through the worst.”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport lost about 98 percent of its traffic. It has been a difficult 20 months for all airports in Canada, he said.

Things are better today, but the Saskatoon airport still has only half the traffic compared to 2019.

“We are certainly doing better and seeing things improve, but we are not out of the woods yet.”

Sunwing’s winter schedule will mean at least one flight a day, while WestJet will return with flights to Mexico in January and Dushinski is hopeful for more routes in the future.

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