Traffic surges at Saskatoon airport, but Sask. not allowed to accept international travellers

Saskatoon’s airport saw a jump in daily domestic passengers since the provincial government removed all public health restrictions, but not all flight options and airlines have returned.

“Things have been improving dramatically as we look across the country as reopen plans start taking place in other provinces,” said Andrew Leeming, vice president of operational excellence at Saskatoon International Airport.

“If I go back to May we were looking at about 400 passengers a day, we’re now at about 1,500 passengers a day.”

But that’s still only halfway to the 2019 passenger volumes where, depending on the time of year, Leeming said Saskatoon saw around 2,000 to 3,000 passengers a day.

In May 2020, U.S.-based Delta Airlines announced it was suspending service to Saskatoon, eliminating many direct flights from American cities to Saskatoon.

It’s something Leeming said the airport simply needs to wait and see if and when Delta decides the investment is right to resume operations in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon was one of 10 airports where Delta suspended operations, when it made the announcement on May 8.

In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson for Delta Airlines said “at this time, we do not have a date to resume service to Saskatoon. We’re continually evaluating demand trends and rebuilding our network as demand resumes.”

On Monday, the federal government announced fully vaccinated U.S. citizens will be permitted into Canada beginning Aug. 9 for non-essential travel, but only at nine airports.

Saskatoon and Regina are not on the list of airports allowed to accept international travellers.

Leeming said he’s disappointed but not concerned.

“We’re not concerned at this point but some disappointment there is no Saskatchewan direct port of entry,” Leeming said.

“There are several similar situations at airports across the country as Skyxe so we anticipate movement in the near future.”