Lindsay Cotter // Prince George Airport Authority
It was just a few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result of international travel bans, we at the airport were seeing flights and passenger numbers drop drastically. The Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA) was grasping with this new reality as we tried to navigate our way through a worldwide pandemic. Passenger numbers plummeted to 96% compared to the same month last year. It was something we had never seen, experienced or knew how to navigate.
The PGAA is a not-for-profit organization, without passengers and flights, we have very little revenue. However, we have a big airfield to keep operating, as we are an essential service. Our CEO, Gordon Duke was sharing our story with anyone who would listen; Mayor and Council, MPs, MLAs and local organizations. Through Duke’s reaching out, the PGAA was made aware that local seniors in our community were not being fed, as the Meals on Wheels organization saw a sharp decline in delivery volunteers due to COVID-19. Immediately, the PGAA made the decision to step up and help those that needed it. Connecting with our community and giving back is a key pillar of our corporate culture. We called Nicole at the local chapter of the Meals on Wheels organization and committed ourselves to weekly deliveries.
Easter weekend was the first delivery made by our CEO himself, complete with a handwritten Easter note to further brighten the recipient’s day. The Airport Authority has been delivering meals every Tuesday since. Our Operations Team has taken this task on, and over the last few months they have made friends along the way, both with the seniors and within our staff community. Since this began, the Airport Authority team has delivered approximately 232 meals to those in need.
We are now eight months into this pandemic, and while passenger numbers are slowly increasing every month, we are far from pre-Covid levels. It will take us years to fully recover. At this point we have to shift into winter operations. It’s all hands-on deck at the Prince George Airport (YXS) ensuring runways, aprons and terminal walkways are clear of snow. YXS is an essential service, whether it be medevac flights, people travelling for medical appointments, work or to visit family. At this time we have to put a pause on our Meals on Wheels volunteer work, but we look forward to discussing it again in the Spring. As already mentioned, this has been a great initiative for our staff and our community, and we urge other local businesses to step up and help those in our community who need it.
For more information on the Meals on Wheels program in Prince George, please contact Nicole at 250 564 5888 ext. 14.
About the author: Lindsay moved to Prince George in 2007 after spending time in Kitimat/Terrace working in radio and television news. After spending nearly four years on the local airwaves delivering newscasts, Lindsay was hired to do Marketing and Communications for the Prince George Airport Authority. In the last nine years, she has been the voice behind the airport’s social media accounts and marketing efforts, including the Amelia Bearheart mascot. When not at YXS, she can be found spending time with her husband Kevin, son Nixon and yorkie Miss Molly.