Holiday travel returns to Edmonton airport, Christmas Eve traffic half of pre-pandemic averages

Christmas Eve is one of the busiest travel days of the year, and thousands of passengers made their way through Edmonton International Airport.

Officials estimate 8,000 passengers either departed or arrived at the airport on Friday. Pre-pandemic, that number was almost double.

“We’re seeing that seasonable boost we’d normally get this time of year,” said Steve Maybee, EIA vice president operations.

“It’s not what would be seen in a pre-pandemic year, but it’s better than what we’d seen last year.”

While staff shortages in the U.S. pushed several airlines to cancel or delay flights, Maybee says EIA has not been impacted to the same level.

“There are staff shortages,” he said, adding that ground and baggage crews are where pressure is being felt the most. “We’re not really seeing any impacts or cancellations.

“The cancellations we are seeing are more from the travel advisories and impacts of some of the restrictions,” he added. “We are still seeing what the impact of those could be.”

The federal government urges Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel as the COVID-19 variant Omicron spreads worldwide.

As the travel restrictions continue to change, Maybee said the airport remains ready to respond and ensure travellers are covered.

“We are helping facilitate,” Maybee said, “working with our different airline partners to make sure the process for passengers is as easy as it can be.

“The processes being put in place are to enhance travel and keep Canadians safe.” 

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Touria Izri

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