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Winnipeg Airport Sees 95% Drop in Passengers During Pandemic

July 28, 2020 12:28 PM | News

Winnipeg Airport

Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport (THEHUBWINNIPEG.COM)

Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport was hit hard during the second quarter as air passenger traffic plunged 95 percent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority on Tuesday said fewer than 56,000 travellers moved through the air terminal during the second quarter of this year, compared to 1.1 million passengers over the same period in 2019.

On April 11, for example, only 59 passengers departed from Winnipeg.

“The global pandemic has impacted the aviation and tourism industries in ways no one could have predicted,” said Barry Rempel, president and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority.

“The sharp drop in traffic has been felt at airports around the world and Winnipeg has not been immune. This will be a slow recovery taking years to return to 2019 levels. WAA is focused on taking the right steps today to mitigate the impact while keeping the company and airport sustainable in the future.”

WAA’s consolidated revenue for the second quarter of 2020 was $11.6 million, compared to $33.5 million in 2019.

To stave off any further losses, the WAA has paused or cancelled non-essential capital projects, operating budgets were cut and the terminal was “reimagined” to serve fewer travellers, with some energy-consuming systems shut down and areas closed off to the public.

On a sunnier note, the cargo sector remained steady in the second quarter. The number of cargo plane landings jumped 2.1 percent compared to the same period in 2019. More cargo aircraft also touched down from international markets to move goods such as medical supplies and personal protective equipment in and out of the region.

The airport announced earlier this week that effective on Wednesday, anyone entering the air terminal building will be required to wear a face mask.