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Calgary airport expects steep passenger, revenue drop from COVID-19

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CALGARY — The Calgary Airport Authority expects to lose revenues equivalent to nearly one quarter of its annual budget as the COVID-19 pandemic spurs flight cancellations, reduced bookings and travel restrictions.

It is one of four airports across the country that Ottawa is allowing to remain open to international flights.

The airport authority says it expects at least a 30 per cent drop in 2020 passenger volumes compared to 2019, or five million fewer guests.

It is forecasting $100 million in lost revenue, or about 22 per cent of its annual $450 million budget.

A long-running program in which volunteers in white cowboy hats greet travellers at the airport is being suspended.

The airport authority is working with retailers to adjust their hours and is allowing non-operational and administrative staff to work remotely.

"Our immediate priority is sustaining essential services to facilitate the swift, safe return of Canadians abroad," airport authority president and CEO Bob Sartor said in a release Monday.

"For over 25 years, the authority has lived by a mandate focused on safety and security. These enduring values continue to guide us as we face the challenge of responding to the evolving threat of the virus."

The authority is deferring capital investments for 2020, reducing discretionary spending and refinancing debt to account for the financial impacts of the virus.

The not-for-profit organization that receives no taxpayer money said it also plans to discuss financial help with government.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press