Canadian Air Traffic Up 17 Times Over Last Year – As IATA Says Recovery One Year Ahead of Forecasts

Plane take off airplaneNew Canada Border Services Agency data for arrivals and Canadian Air Transport Security Authority numbers of departing pax say the same thing: Air travel in Canada is heating up.

The number of travellers entering Canada by air in the week of 25APR to 01MAY was nearly 460,000. That’s 17 times the number of pax at the same time in 2021, according to CBSA. And it’s a whopping 36 times the number of arrivals in the same period in 2020.

This year’s numbers represent 2/3 of the nearly 690,000 travellers who arrived in Canada by air in the same one-week period in 2019.


Meanwhile, over in departures, CATSA stats show that over 113,000 pax flew out of Canada’s eight largest airports on a single day this year on Sunday, 08MAY.

That figure is nearly 80 per cent of the number of departing pax CATSA says flew out on the same day in MAY in 2019.

Even though the numbers of air pax arriving or departing haven’t quite hit pre-pandemic levels yet, they’re high enough to create chaos and crowding as airport workers tasked with COVID-related extra health protocols try in vain to clear bottlenecks of pax during systemic levels of staff shortages, as Open Jaw has reported.

“Recovery will Gather Momentum:” IATA

The same airport challenges are being widely reported the world over. But that’s not preventing IATA from making sunny predictions about air traffic recovery.

In fact, it’s moving its recovery timeline forward, saying it’s looking at full recovery of the industry an entire year earlier than it had even recently forecast.

Speaking at a conference this week, IATA’s director general, Willie Walsh, said he believes air travel will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

The organization had previously said the industry would achieve full recovery in 2024. But the relaxation of travel restrictions around the world, combined with pent-up demand, is accelerating the return of air travel.

“We’re seeing very strong bookings. Certainly, all the airline CEOs that I’m talking to are seeing not just good demand for year-end travel, but they continue to see demand as they looked through the year,” Reuters reports Walsh saying.

That’s despite the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, soaring fuel prices, China’s strict lockdowns, and disruptions from staff shortages.

“I don’t think we should be distracted from the fact that we are seeing a strong recovery, and I think that recovery will gather momentum as we go through the rest of this year into 2023,” he added.

Lynn Elmhirst

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

Travellers waiting at the Canada - U.S. Border. Photo courtesy of the Houlton Pioneer Times.
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