Early signs of travel recovery in the second quarter of 2021 at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport

July 28, 2021

Categories: Quarterly Results

Aerial view of YWG looking down runway 18/36

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – July 28, 2021 – In the second quarter, Winnipeg Airports Authority began to see promising signs for recovery as multiple airlines returned to serve the Winnipeg market, several key routes started up again and Canada slowly reopened in sync with rising vaccination levels.

“Our outlook for the future is beginning to look brighter as we’ve slowly started to see more travellers move through the terminal and domestic travel reopen in direct correlation with more people getting vaccinated,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of WAA. “Our region’s social and economic recovery depends on getting people safely moving again to be able to reconnect with loved ones, travel for business opportunities or enjoy adventures abroad. Vaccination levels are at the centre of this equation, steering the reopening of travel and how quickly we can collectively move forward from this pandemic.”

As vaccination levels steadily rose in Canada, this prompted the provincial government to allow fully vaccinated domestic travellers to enter Manitoba without needing to self-isolate as of June 10, provided it had been at least two weeks since they received their second dose.

This welcome news helped drive a 12.3% increase in passenger traffic in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of 2021. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, travel volumes were also higher compared to the same period last year. Passenger traffic in the second quarter of 2021 doubled volumes seen during the same period in 2020, in part due to airlines returning service on cue with eased restrictions.

 

This quarter, WAA worked with its partners at Swoop and Flair to bring the airlines back to Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG). Their return helped meet growing demand and re-launch several popular routes, such as Abbotsford, Hamilton and Kelowna for the summer. Flair also introduced a new destination, Kitchener-Waterloo, and launched service to Ottawa. Other positive developments included WestJet once again connecting Winnipeg to Edmonton, along with adding seasonal service to Victoria. Air Canada also added Calgary back into its route network. While domestic routes expanded and increased in frequency too, the federal government extended the mandate to only allow international flights to land at four Canadian airports in the first phase of the border reopening plan. WAA continued to advocate to see international service return to help keep Manitoba competitive and connected in the months ahead.

With international service paused and domestic travel only starting to reopen, WAA’s second quarter net earnings continued to be impacted by low travel volumes. An average day in June 2021 made up only 12% of the passenger traffic YWG saw on a typical day in June before the pandemic. WAA’s consolidated revenue for the second quarter of 2021 was $11.5 million, versus $9.7 million for the second quarter in 2020. Earnings before interest, depreciation and taxes were $2.4 million in the second quarter of 2021, compared to a loss of $3.2 million during the same period last year.

To help the company financially sustain the impacts of the pandemic, WAA continued to focus on diversifying its business operations, such as through the airport’s thriving cargo sector. The number of cargo planes landing at YWG increased by 11% in the second quarter versus the same period in 2020. Gross takeoff weight, a key cargo metric, also jumped by 5.9% compared to the same period last year.

WAA’s subsidiary, Winnipeg Airport Services Corp.(WASCO), also expanded the company’s reach by branching out into new territory. After seven years of providing aviation services at airports across Canada, WASCO recently landed its first international contract to serve Bermuda’s only airport. WASCO’s positive reputation helped present this opportunity in 2021, which quickly evolved into a longer-term contract this quarter to grow the partnership with Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited.

In the community, WAA joined an international campaign called Faster Together to help address vaccine hesitancy and speed up Canada’s recovery from the pandemic. The company also continued its long-standing tradition of growing a garden at YWG in support of Harvest Manitoba, which employees will be maintaining over the summer to prepare for a successful fall harvest.

As we look ahead into the summer, dining and retail establishments inside the terminal are anticipated to expand their hours or reopen as passenger volumes pick up and air service efforts are ongoing to help bring even more routes back to YWG to serve the region.

About Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.
Winnipeg Airports Authority serves the community by leading transportation innovation and growth. As a non-share capital corporation, all net revenue is reinvested back into delivering on our mission of providing excellent airport services and facilities in a fiscally prudent manner. 

WAA is proud to be recognized as one of Manitoba's Top Employers for 2021, the tenth year in a row.

For more information:
Tyler MacAfee, Vice President, Communications and Government Relations
Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.
Media Line: 204-992-2791

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