Passenger volumes at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport were almost back to pre-pandemic levels over the quarter, propelled by strong summer traffic. Over the past three months, YWG welcomed 1.2 million passengers, bringing it within 99 percent of traffic levels compared to the same period in 2019. August was a particularly strong month, surpassing the traffic levels registered during the same month in 2019. The airport experienced its busiest day on record, with 15,400 people passing through on August 14th.
“The last three months have been really encouraging,” said WAA President and CEO Nick Hays. “We not only experienced a significant milestone with the busiest day on record, but we also celebrated the launch of a non-stop route to Atlanta and a new partnership with Porter Airlines. Connecting communities is at our core and we’re continually working with our partners to bring more choice and convenience to Manitobans.”
Seasonal service to popular summer travel destinations kept the airport bustling, and passengers enjoyed non-stop service to Atlanta for the first time, thanks to our long-time partners at WestJet. This new route provides our community with a direct link to one of the world’s most connected airports, unlocking numerous opportunities for business or leisure travel for Manitobans. Porter, WAA’s newest airline partner, began service to Toronto at the beginning of September and was welcomed at the gate with a water cannon salute for its inaugural flight. Porter offers travellers an elevated economy experience that will provide even more choice and greater connectivity for the community.
Cargo traffic was also steady during the quarter. Although the industry trend for gross takeoff weight, a key metric in measuring air freight performance, was down more than 7 percent globally in the third quarter, cargo operations at the airport outperformed the industry, seeing only a slight 0.9 percent dip.
Even though these quarterly results move WAA forward on its pandemic recovery, the organization forecasts it will take several more years to restore the solid financial position it previously enjoyed. Revenue was $45.3 million, up 18 percent compared to Q3 last year. Net Income rose compared to the same period in 2022, increasing from $4.4 million to $8.1 million.
Propelled by the incredible community response to the new 100-foot mural on the Departures level of the terminal painted by local artist Kal Barteski, WAA commissioned her to create a second mural post-security as part of an ongoing effort to make the airport a welcoming place for all. Travellers can also look forward to the return of Stella’s Café and Bakery in early 2024, which was announced in early September. The revamped space will feature a restaurant, a lounge, and a bakery with grab-and-go options.
A few more highlights from the third quarter include another “Popcorn & Pride” session facilitated by Rainbow Resource Centre to educate WAA employees about the lived experience of 2SLGBTQI+ people. Team members also came together for the 27th year to pull vegetables from the Harvest Garden to support Harvest Manitoba. To cap it off, YWG was honoured to welcome Teekca’s Boutique, a local Indigenous retailer, into the terminal to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.