Air Canada’s announcement that they are pulling out of North Bay, Ontario’s Jack Garland airport (CYYB) is devastating news for the airport and the local economy, according to the North Bay city council.
“The North Bay airport is an essential part of the economic infrastructure of the City of North Bay,” said city councillor Chris Mayne. “City council is determined to do everything we can to maintain it as a sustainable operation and work towards seeing service levels return to historic levels as soon as conditions permit.”
Without revenue generated from the suspended passenger flights, the city is having to commit up to $200,000 per month to keep it open. Said Mayne, “Without support from other levels of government, without trying to come to some sort of agreement with Air Canada…North Bay could face having to look at closing the airport.”
“We have 700 plus jobs dependent on the airport,” said North Bay mayor Al McDonald. “If business doesn’t hear that we are going to keep the airport open, those 700 jobs would leave our community.”
At a council meeting Tuesday evening (July 21), city staff recommended that the city organize local businesses to lobby both the federal and provincial governments to step in with funding. They also recommended that up to $1.5 million be found internally, if necessary, to keep the airport operating throughout 2021. “More than likely the money will come from reserves,” said the mayor.
North Bay, a city with a population of more than 50,000, is located roughly 280 kilometres north of Toronto, on the eastern shore of Lake Nipissing. It is the home of 22 Wing North Bay and the site of NORAD’s Canadian base. Its airport has two asphalted runways, 08-26 (10,004 feet) and 18-36 (4,492 feet).
Photo credit: Jack Garland Airport