Airport, business groups fail to secure financial aid from city council

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Saskatoon’s airport is a quiet place these days.

The new coronavirus pandemic has devastated the airline and tourism industries, with the Saskatoon Airport Authority (SAA) reporting a 98 per cent drop in passengers over the last three months.

That decline in traffic — which is not expected to bounce back quickly — has the corporation that runs the John G. Diefenbaker International Airport forecasting a loss of up to $4.9 million this year.

“This has financially devastated our business,” Stephen Maybury, the SAA’s chief executive officer, told city council Monday night while requesting the equivalent of property tax relief.

“It’s not going to make us whole, but it would be material and significant (in assisting) with our recovery,” he added.

The Saskatoon Airport Authority was one of several businesses and organizations that made the case for city council to provide additional aid beyond existing tax and utility deferrals. All told, the requests totalled around $5 million.