Travellers abandon flights from Victoria International Airport following COVID-19 measures

Travellers abandon flights from Victoria International Airport following COVID-19 measures
WatchCoronavirus fears are hitting airports hard. What was supposed to be one of the peak travel times at Victoria international airport is looking bleak. Julian Kolsut was speaking with travellers who were grounded Friday

Many travellers flying out from airports across Canada had to make the decision to turn around Friday, following new measures imposed by Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that international flights will soon be restricted to certain airports in the country, and those arriving internationally are being asked to self-isolate for 14-days.

Some passengers at Victoria International Airport scrambled to cancel their flights moments following the announcement.

“We came out to the airport because the phones all seem to be down and we had to cancel tickets for 20 family members so its about $20,000,” said one man.

“We were really looking forward to Maui.”

A group of teens and chaperones were bound for the Galapagos Islands, but instead had to call off their trip.

“Just up until a half and hour ago, we decided its just not a safe thing to do,” said one chaperone.

“Trudeau’s message in the last hour that the borders could be closed [was the deciding factor]”

But some of the teens were hoping to go.

“I still want to go… I mean uh its either we do nothing here for two weeks or we do nothing in Ecuador for two weeks.”

The announcement is already compounding the damage COVID-19 has done to air travel. Over the next week, the airport was expecting a surge in their numbers due to spring break.

YYJ (Victoria International Airport) management is expecting things to get worse.

“March we are just tracking on a daily basis, and we are seeing it down about 10 per cent,” said YYJ CEO Geoff Dickson.

“But it’s going to drop considerably more than that over the course of the next three to four weeks… The number is somewhere between 10-20-30 percent I am quite certain.”

Many travellers are feeling stuck, and staff say airlines are going day-by-day as the situation evolves.

Officials say if you are planning to travel,  make sure to practice good hygiene and stay tuned to your airlines website for more information.

“The cleanliness in the terminal has never been better, on the commercial carriers has never been better,” said Dickson.

“The risk is very low but it is higher than if you were to stay at home.”

Victoria international has routes serving Seattle and parts of Mexico, but Ottawa has not yet commented on what airport’s will be permitted for international flights.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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