Return to the skies: Two daily flights set to take off from London airport Monday
LONDON, ONT. -- Two flights return to London airport next week, as facility still struggles amidst the pandemic.
London International Airport has confirmed to CTV News that Air Canada will add two new daytime flights to Toronto to its schedule starting on Monday, June 21.
Another Air Canada flight is expected the following week.
Coupled with a WestJet flight, already in service, there will now be four flights in total each day.
It’s a sign of life at the facility, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, says President Mike Seabrook.
“I wouldn’t say, in any way, we’re back to a level where we want to be, but it’s at least it is encouraging.”
But it is still a far cry from the typical 17-20 daily flights the airport accommodated prior to COVID-19.
The depleted passenger volume was evident inside the passenger terminal on Wednesday.
Seabrook acknowledges it remains a barren space, adapted for the new realities of physical distancing and health protocols.
Arrival/Departure boards display blank screens, ticket counters sit empty, the Tim Hortons food court is shut down, and baggage carousels are idle.
Still there is activity, as the 80 per cent of airport workers still on the job take on tasks they don’t normally have time to focus on.
“We’re painting many places including the parking lot, servicing the runaways,” among other projects, says Seabrook.
But he adds it is not just the terminal that’s seeing hard times.
“From one end of this airport to the other. If you go from Diamond Aircraft up to our maintenance operations, our flight schools and our commercial traffic, everything has really been affected, negatively.”
That includes the air cargo business, which Seabrook concedes is struggling.
Still, he remains positive about the future as flights return.
“At least there is some optimism here. Some of our business are coming back, and there is hope that this is the start of the recovery,” he added.
But for that to continue to happen, people have to use the terminal.
Seabrook is hopeful summer travel and the growing need to see family and friends will encourage a gradual, but steady, return to the skies.