Halifax airport says it's raising fees to make up for revenue lost during pandemic
HALIFAX -- With passenger numbers so low at Halifax Stanfield International, the airport fee is going up by seven dollars in 2021.
The fee, which is to maintain airport infrastructure, will be $35 dollars for people leaving Nova Scotia and $22 for people flying between Halifax and Sydney.
"There are debt obligations associated with those infrastructure investments that we've made over time," said airport spokesperson Tiffany Chase. "In looking at the options available to us to make up the shortfall of revenue, given we don't have passengers, increasing this fee was really one of the last resorts we had available."
Airports everywhere are struggling, but airports within the Atlantic bubble have additional challenges.
All international flights coming into Atlantic Canada have been cut.
The majority of flights within the region have been dropped too.
With passenger and flight activity at an historic low, Stanfield International is borrowing money to continue operating.
"We can't continue to borrow our way through this crisis," Chase said.
Greater Fredericton International and Moncton Romeo Leblanc International say they have no plans to hike their respective airport fees at this time.
Ted Bartlett is with the advocacy group Transport Action Atlantic in Moncton.
"I guess it's inevitable the cost of flying is going to go up," Bartlett says.
He says passenger rail is on shaky ground as well.
Via Rail confirmed last week The Ocean route between Halifax and Montreal would remain shut down indefinitely going into the winter, with no indication of when it might return.
"We know the service cannot be the same as it was before because there are no longer any capabilities of turning the train in Halifax," Bartlett said. "They were essentially evicted from container terminal."
Before the pandemic, Via signaled it would no longer be allowed to use a "rail loop" to change direction after November, allowing it to make a return trip back to Montreal.
Via Rail did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
"Via is going to have to promote the service having been absent for long when it returns as well, and use the same promotional approaches they're using in central Canada, that passenger rail is the green alternative," Bartlett says.