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WAA soars into busy summer travel season after strong second quarter

August 2, 2023

Categories: Quarterly Results

Under a blue sky with some clouds, two planes are parked at the boarding bridges of the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport terminal with the main apron shown in the foreground.

Steadily growing passenger volumes at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport have propelled Winnipeg Airports Authority to near pre-pandemic levels.

During the last three months, YWG welcomed 1,020,721 travellers, which brings it within 93.3 per cent of the traffic levels it registered during the same period in 2019. This also marks the first time since the start of the pandemic that the airport registered more than one million passengers in a single quarter. To cap off the second quarter of 2023, the airport experienced its busiest day in nearly four years, with more than 14,800 people passing through on Friday, June 30, ahead of the July long weekend.

“The passenger numbers heading into the busy summer season have surpassed expectations, marking a significant milestone in our recovery,” said WAA President and CEO Nick Hays. “As we continue to see an ongoing release of pent-up travel demand, the dedication of our resilient team and the unwavering support from our partners have helped us meet the needs of the community. We’re excited to collaborate even further as more and more people travel through the airport in the months ahead en route to exciting destinations.”

Popular summer seasonal service to Kelowna and Victoria recently returned to YWG, while Flair launched a new route to London, Ontario. Travellers will also soon be able to enjoy year-round service to Atlanta via WestJet as well as flights with WAA’s newest airline partner, Porter, to Toronto-Pearson, both of which were announced during the second quarter.

Cargo operations at the airport remained steady during Q2, with gross takeoff weight, a key metric in measuring air freight performance, showing little change compared to the previous year.

Even though the latest quarterly results move WAA forward on its recovery from the pandemic, the organization forecasts it will take several more years to restore the solid financial position it previously enjoyed. WAA’s consolidated revenue in the second quarter of 2023 was up nearly 21 per cent to $39.9 million. Earnings before interest, depreciation, and taxes also rose compared to the same period in 2022, increasing from $16.19 million to $19.76 million.

From a photo taken outside, silhouetted travellers are shown through glass walls walking down a boarding bridge away from the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport terminal.

As part of a renewed focus on making the airport a more welcoming and inclusive place, new, Pride-themed Hug Rugs were rolled out in the Arrivals Hall in June to celebrate Pride Season. WAA has also partnered with the Rainbow Resource Centre to hold education sessions for employees and identify unnecessarily gendered language in the terminal that could be removed.

Travellers also had an opportunity over the last three months to experience an exhibit from the Manitoba Métis Federation in the airport that contains items representing the Red River Métis way of life. The display is one of the ways WAA is working with Indigenous leaders to make YWG more reflective of the community.

Other highlights from WAA during the second quarter include the launch of a new Accessibility Plan to better support travellers with a disability and the organization’s Annual Public Meeting in April, where it shared its new vision and mission, along with refreshed values and strategic priorities.