A spokesperson for Victoria International Airport says it is still assessing the border closure between Canada and the United States. (Black Press Media File)

Victoria International Airport still grappling with border closure

Canada and the United States agree to end non-essential travel

A spokesperson for Victoria International Airport says it is still assessing what COVID-19-caused closure of the U.S.-Canada border means for the airport.

“We are still trying to actually figure out how it will impact,” said Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations Wednesday (March 18) afternoon. “We expect Alsaka Airlines to be evaluating what that actually means and letting us know. We currently don’t have any information on how they are going to be managing that circumstance.”

Hunchak made those comments after Canada and the United States agreed by “mutual consent” to close the border to non-essential travel.

“Travellers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border closing to non-essential travel

RELATED: New travel measures won’t impact schedule at Victoria International Airport

The announcement does not impact trade.

When asked when he would anticipate to hear from Alaska, Hunchak said it could be any time. “Certainly, we would anticipate in the next couple of days to know what will happen with Alaska here in Victoria,” he said.

Depending on the day of the week, Alaska Airlines flies about three times a day to Seattle, said Hunchak. “But it’s pretty volatile right now,” he said.

According to the airport’s website, an Alaska Airlines flights departed at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

A flight scheduled to leave Victoria at 6 a.m. Thursday shows as cancelled, while two flights scheduled for Thursday afternoon show as being on schedule.

Hunchak said he was not aware of the route being impacted by COVID-19 prior to Wednesday, aside from flying with fewer passengers. “Up until today, there wasn’t anything specific to travel from or to the United States. Certainly today and onwards, they are going to be impacts. We just don’t have a clear understanding of what that means.”


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