After two turbulent years due to pandemic-related travel restrictions and economic fallout, the new CEO of the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport is hoping interest in aviation picks up.
“The parking lot is full, it looks like an airport again,” Courtney Burns said in an interview Monday.
Burns currently serves as the airport’s director of finance and administration and will officially take over from Bernard LeBlanc as CEO and chairman on May 16.
Low-cost airline Swoop has just opened a new direct flight between Moncton and Hamilton.
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Bert Van Der Stege, head of commerce and finance for Swoop, said the main reason for bringing this route to Moncton was to meet the needs of Ontarians interested in vacationing in the Maritimes.
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“We believe in the potential that this city offers from a tourist point of view. So we know how important the tourism economy is to the province of New Brunswick,” he said Monday.
He said Swoop also plans to add a direct flight from Moncton to Edmonton in mid-June.
Burns said data from March and April shows ticket sales are up.
“We’re really starting to see growth and recovery, people are looking forward to travelling,” she said.
She thinks a lot of adoption is due to people traveling for business.
“We are seeing strong demand across the board,” she said.
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She said staffing remains an issue as the airport tries to rebuild its employee base after layoffs at the start of the pandemic, as well as employee retirements.
“For example, this morning our Tim Hortons isn’t open yet, so you can’t get any food or drinks before your flight,” she said, saying the cafe hoped to have enough staff to open by July 3.
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