HALIFAX -- Atlantic Canada's airports say they need more money from the federal government to cope with a massive decline in airline traffic owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Atlantic Canada Airports Association said today the 11 airports it represents are projected to lose a total of 5.5 million passengers and $76 million in revenues this year.

It says air travel in the region was down 92 per cent year-over-year from April to the end of August in comparison to 2019.

Association director Monette Pasher says in a news release airports are using capital reserves or borrowing to cover their operating loses and debt obligations.

She says airports are an essential service and are providing communities medical evacuations, air cargo deliveries and transport for essential workers.

Derrick Stanford, association president and CEO of Saint John Airport says the federal wage subsidy has provided some relief but airports need more financial support from Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.