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Strong start to 2020 halted by COVID-19 Global Pandemic

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – April 28, 2020 – The first quarter of 2020 began with a continuation of the previous quarter’s performance until the point at which the global COVID-19 pandemic began to take its toll on the entire aviation industry.

In March, the initial spread and subsequent declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the travel climate in North America significantly. Passenger traffic dipped 20 per cent in the first week and continued to sharply fall to an unheard of low, down 95 per cent in the last week of the month as compared to the same period in 2019. The airport went from an average of over 12,000 arriving and departing passengers per day to less than 150 departing passengers in a matter of days, as governments announced border restrictions and airlines cancelled flights. This unprecedented situation resulted in a 19.27% drop in passenger traffic for the first quarter of 2020 versus the same period in 2019.

“Being prepared for disruption has been a priority for Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA), yet no one could have predicted the disproportionate impact of this particular crisis on our industry. Despite being in a strong financial position, our company has not been immune to these new realities,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. “WAA is funded entirely through a user-pay model; our revenue is tied directly to how many people travel through the airport. While eliminating contractor costs and slashing capital budgets assist, our significant operating costs remain fixed. I am pleased to see the reaction of our team as we work with staff to find innovative ways of balancing the requirement to keep runways available for those who desperately need access to supply chains and the reality of plummeting revenues.”

Some of the steps already taken to reduce operating costs include closing off parts of the terminal in order to minimize heating and maintenance costs, turning down thermostats in or removing boarding bridges from service, and powering down kiosks to reduce electrical consumption while promoting physical distancing.

WAA has also provided audible notification and signage throughout the terminal to inform passengers of their responsibilities if travelling. This includes the recommendation to cancel all non-essential travel, the requirement under The Quarantine Act to self-isolate for 14 days if returning to the country, and to practice physical distancing while in the terminal. WAA has also increased the cleaning of high-touch areas in the terminal and added hand sanitizing stations in strategic locations.

Consolidated revenue for the first quarter of the year was $31.4 million, compared to $36.2 million for the first quarter in 2019. Earnings before interest, depreciation, and taxes were $13.4 million in 2020, versus $18.0 million for the same period in 2019.

Cargo traffic was strong in the first quarter of 2020, outperforming global trends. Total cargo landings at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport were up 5.02 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

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 does this through a group of companies working together toward a common vision. Airport operations support over 18,500 jobs in the community and generate $4.3 billion in economic impact.

WAA is proud to be recognized as one of Manitoba’s Top Employers for 2020, the ninth 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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