Daily flights between Sydney and Halifax touched down this afternoon – adding air of optimism

An Air Canada flight from Halifax touched the tarmac in Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday, marking the return of daily service between the two Nova Scotia cities.

"It is actually fantastic. I've been driving back and forth to Halifax all winter to fly out, and in some dangerous conditions, so it's a pleasure to fly into home," says Benito Delorenzo, a passenger on the flight Tuesday afternoon.

Passenger traffic in Sydney has been better than expected since the return of other flights.

For a period of almost six months, the facility was shuttered, as the pandemic put a pause on air travel to the island.

"We were really pleased to see traffic pick up again over the summer months following the easing of boarder restrictions that have been in place throughout the pandemic," says Tiffany Chase, a spokesperson for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

At Halifax Stanfield International Airport, there has been a steady increase of travellers, as well as flights being offered and destinations, but the airport is nowhere near traffic levels prior to the pandemic.

"We're still only at about 30 or 40 percent from what we would've seen pre-pandemic, but it's a dramatic increase from the levels of 5 to 10 percent we saw at the low point throughout COVID-19," says Chase.

At the Moncton airport, Bernard Leblanc says the summer months are always busier. He says the real question will be whether business travel will rebound into the fall.

"Our airport really depends on the passenger revenue. So until we get that passenger revenue and the return of a number of passengers, it's difficult to see how we're making out," says Leblanc, the CEO at the Moncton airport.

With the return of the Sydney to Halifax flight on Tuesday, passengers say they're happy to be able to reconnect with family and friends. The flight also arrives just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"It's absolutely important. I don't drive, so flying is the only way I can come," says Cathy Froese, a passenger.

An important connection for an industry that's been pretty much up in the air.