All Hands Help Required As Mainland Travel Resumes
(GANDER June 18, 2020) The Gander International Airport Authority (GIAA) is highlighting changes it has made to promote health and safety as flights to Mainland Canada resume.
“We are focusing on ensuring a safe and clean environment for our team, tenants and travellers,” said GIAA President and CEO Reg Wright. “Passengers need to understand the changes they see when they travel, and the measures they can take to stay safe.”
Over the last 90 days, the GIAA has focused on four essential areas:
- Increased cleaning and sanitization emphasizing high-touch, high-traffic areas
- Encouraging safe physical distancing through signage and the strategic reconfiguration of seating and passenger flows
- Limiting main terminal access to travellers and employees
- Working with airport partners to communicate best practices for travellers
Gander International Airport has remained open to accommodate the essential flow of goods and persons during the pandemic. In April and May, passenger traffic was down 98% over 2019 levels. PAL Airlines has operated a scheduled service to St. John’s and Labrador catering primarily to travellers moving within the province. On June 22, Air Canada will restore daily service to Halifax, with direct service to Toronto beginning July 1.
Mr. Wright noted that the return of service to the Mainland represents the slow and gradual return of passengers. However, the airport is expecting it to take upwards of five years for passenger volumes to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In terms of changes, employees will wear masks in public areas of the airport terminal and in situations where personal distancing cannot be maintained. Facial coverings are required at security and to board an aircraft. Passengers are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings throughout the terminal, particularly in arrivals. Air Canada’s guests will have their temperature checked, part of the airline’s CleanCare+ program.
Enhanced hospital-grade airport cleaning protocols have been implemented, and additional sanitization stations made available. Physical distancing reminders are established in queuing areas, seating and washrooms. Plexiglass dividers are being installed at check-in counters and podiums.
To facilitate curbside drop off and pick up, one-hour free parking is available, and loading zones have been extended.
The airport is encouraging travellers to plan to reduce the number of person-to-person interactions and contacts in the terminal building, such as using online check-in, mobile boarding passes and travelling with carryon only where possible.
All Hands Helping
Everyone has a stake in public safety, and it’s essential the approach be collaborative, Mr. Wright said. The GIAA is encouraging everyone to do their part to protect themselves and others through a campaign it has themed All Hands Helping.
“This pandemic has demanded that we look out to ourselves and each other for the greater good. We need everyone’s help to ensure a safe and efficient travel experience by wearing a mask while travelling through the airport, frequent hand washing and maintaining social distancing.”
About Gander International Airport Authority
The Gander International Airport Authority is the not-for-profit organization created in 1996 to manage operations at Gander International Airport (CYQX). Gander International Airport offers scheduled and charter service from Air Canada, Provincial Airlines, Sunwing Airlines and WestJet. The airport plays a vital role in the economic and community development of the Central Newfoundland region. The airport’s economic contribution includes 1,260 full-time jobs, $90 million in wages, $140 million in gross domestic product (GDP), and $240 million in economic impact.
For further information, please contact:
Reg Wright, President and CEO