Cargo a small bright spot for Winnipeg Airport

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Travel restrictions and self‐isolation protocols continued to hinder Winnipeg Airports Authority’s (WAA) recovery efforts in the third quarter of 2020.

Cargo operations remained strong. The number of cargo plane landings increased by 1.85 percent in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The airport also welcomed a steady flow of large cargo aircraft from around the world, keeping Winnipeg connected to international markets.

Passenger traffic remained low, averaging 2,051 passengers a day moving through Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG). This is an 85 percent drop in traffic when compared to the third quarter of 2019, when 13,273 passengers a day travelled through the airport. Third quarter traffic did increase by 132,95 travellers over the second quarter of 2020, due in part to the lifting of provincial self‐isolation protocols on June 21 for travellers arriving from Western Canada or Northwestern Ontario.

Travel restrictions continued to have a negative impact on WAA’s financial position, as 90 percent of revenues are linked to passenger traffic while 85 percent of operating costs are fixed. To cut costs the authority has shut down areas of the terminal, reduced staffing, and delayed capital projects. However, the airport needs to remain open and the airfield and runways maintained to provide essential services and move critical goods, while meeting all regulatory obligations.

Dramatic drop in revenue

Consolidated revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $14.3 million, versus $36.1 million in 2019. Earnings before interest, depreciation and taxes were $2.6 million for the third quarter of 2020, compared to $18.5 million during the same period in 2019.

“Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, like the rest of Canada’s airports, continues to struggle as governments restrict travel and impose self‐isolation protocols, crippling airport revenues,” said Barry Rempel, president and CEO of WAA. “Winnipeg Richardson International Airport will be essential to this region’s economic recovery, but we can’t do it alone. Government support is required to ensure the airport can continue to provide essential services for our community in the future.”

WAA continued to diversify revenues through its subsidiary Winnipeg Airport Services Corp. (WASCO), which provides aviation services at other airports across Canada. In the third quarter, WASCO was contracted to deliver airport management services at Stephenville Airport in Newfoundland and Labrador. This expands WAA’s reach to Eastern Canada and allows the company to have a presence from coast‐to‐coast‐to‐coast.