Winnipeg Airports Authority capped off a memorable year with a passenger milestone not seen at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport since 2019.
A total of 4,094,793 people travelled through YWG in 2023, marking the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the airport welcomed more than four million passengers in a single year. It also represents an increase of roughly one million travellers compared to the year-end passenger count registered in 2022 and brings the airport within 91.3% of its pre-pandemic numbers.
“Looking back at our journey over the past twelve months and all that our dedicated team members were able to achieve alongside our esteemed partners, there is so much to be proud of,” said Nick Hays, President and CEO of WAA. “From new routes to new airlines to more options for travellers, 2023 was truly an exciting year as it all equates to a more connected community, making Manitoba an even better place to call home.”
Helping to propel the airport to a strong finish to the year was a fourth quarter which saw 957,081 passengers, many of whom took off during the festive season to connect with loved ones.
The holidays are also one of the busiest times of year for the YWG’s thriving cargo sector. Gross takeoff weight, a key metric in measuring air freight performance, was up 0.8% over the past three months compared to the previous year’s fourth quarter. To help support the growing demand for air cargo and deliver the infrastructure the community needs to succeed, WAA will break ground in 2024 on a new, state-of-the-art Multi-Tenant Air Cargo Logistics Facility. The project is backed by Transport Canada with a $49 million investment through the National Trade Corridors Fund, including additional funding announced this past December.
WAA’s preliminary financials for the fourth quarter show that consolidated revenue climbed 11.1% from the same period in 2022 to $40.5 million. Net income also increased, rising by $21.7 million year-over-year.
“We’re thrilled to see how far we’ve come regarding our continued recovery,” said Hays. “But, at the same time, we know we still have some way to go until we return to the solid financial position our organization previously enjoyed, as we had to take on additional borrowing during the pandemic to ensure we could continue to operate the airport - a critical piece of infrastructure for the community.”
As part of its commitment to remove barriers to create a more accessible, inclusive and welcoming airport environment, WAA introduced new sensory support kits during the fourth quarter of 2023. The kits are available to travellers for free at the airport’s Information Booth and are filled with items that can be comforting to neurodivergent individuals.
Other highlights from the past three months include WAA’s newest airline partner, Porter, announcing it will launch non-stop service between Winnipeg and Ottawa in spring 2024 and the airport unveiling a new YWG sign in the Arrivals Hall to help greet travellers to the community.