OTTAWA -- The Ottawa International Airport is taking steps to encourage physical distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19 as travellers resume flying during the pandemic.

Despite an increase in the number of travellers flying through the airport this week, officials estimate it will take years for passenger volumes to increase to levels seen before the COVID restrictions began three months ago.

"Over the next couple of days, we are anticipating being over the 400 threshold. So that is positive. It is going in the right direction," says Krista Kealey of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

"It is going to take time to get to levels we are used to seeing. It will take several years."

The Ottawa International Airport says approximately 14,000 passengers a day travelled through the airport before the pandemic started in March. The number of passengers was reduced to less than 100 departures a day in the middle of the pandemic.

While airlines continue to fly on reduced schedules due to decreased demand, the Ottawa International Airport is taking steps to keep everyone is safe.

"That's why we have decals on the floor to remind people, that's why we have overhead announcements reminding people to wear their face covering and stay six feet apart," said Kealey on Thursday.

"We know that consumer confidence is really key to get people back flying."

Other measures the Ottawa Airport has introduced to encourage physical distancing and limiting the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Floor decals directing passengers around the terminal
  • Decals indicating where passengers should stand at the baggage carousels
  • Shields at the airline check-in counters
  • Strict and intense cleaning measures around the airport
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the terminal