Winnipeg Richardson International Airport sees strong summer demand

View across Winnipeg Richardson International Airport
Photo Credit: Winnipeg Airports Authority

Passenger volumes at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG) were almost back to pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2023, driven by strong summer traffic.

A Resurgent Quarter

Over the last three months, YWG has extended a warm welcome to 1.2 million passengers, marking a significant milestone as it reached 99% of the passenger levels compared to the same period in 2019.

Notably, August stood out as a particularly robust month, surpassing the passenger numbers recorded in August 2019.

Busiest Day on Record

The airport’s third quarter success culminated in an extraordinary day on August 14 when a record-breaking 15,400 passengers passed through its terminals.

This remarkable feat showcases the growing popularity of YWG as a travel hub.

Nonstop connection to Atlanta

One of the most exciting developments was the introduction of non-stop service to Atlanta, made possible through YWG’s long-standing partnership with WestJet.

This new route opens up a direct link to one of the world’s most well-connected airports, offering Manitobans extensive opportunities for business and leisure travel.


A Porter Airlines E195-E2 E-Jet on tarmac.
Photo Credit: CNW Group/Porter Airlines Inc.
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Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines, WAA’s newest partner, commenced its Toronto service in September with a grand inaugural flight, marked by a water cannon salute. Porter offers travelers an elevated economy experience, providing the community with more choices and enhanced connectivity.

Thriving Cargo Operations

The airport’s cargo operations remained steady during the quarter, outperforming industry trends. Despite a global reduction of more than seven percent in gross takeoff weight, a key metric for measuring air freight performance, YWG’s cargo operations only saw a slight 0.9 percent dip.

CEO Comments

Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) President and CEO, Nick Hays, expressed his satisfaction with the airport’s performance, stating, “The last three months have been really encouraging.”

“Not only did the airport achieve record-breaking passenger numbers, but it also celebrated the launch of a non-stop route to Atlanta and a new partnership with Porter Airlines.”

“This underlines the airport’s commitment to connecting communities and providing more travel options for Manitobans.”

Financial Resilience

These impressive results in the third quarter are helping WAA recover from the pandemic, but the organization acknowledges that it will take several more years to regain its former solid financial standing.

However, there are encouraging signs, with revenue reaching $45.3 million, an 18 percent increase compared to Q3 of the previous year. Net income also rose, growing from $4.4 million to $8.1 million in the same period.

Artistic Additions

Art enthusiasts and travelers alike are thrilled by Winnipeg Richardson International Airport’s commitment to art and culture.

The installation of a 100-foot mural on the Departures level of the terminal by local artist Kal Barteski received an incredible response from the community.

This prompted WAA to commission her for a second mural post-security, contributing to the airport’s welcoming and vibrant atmosphere.

In early 2024, travelers can also look forward to the return of Stella’s Café and Bakery. The revitalized space will include a restaurant, a lounge, and a bakery with grab-and-go options, enhancing the overall airport experience.

Community Engagement

YWG isn’t just about travelers; it’s deeply involved in the community. The third quarter witnessed another “Popcorn & Pride” session, organized by the Rainbow Resource Centre, to educate WAA employees about the lived experiences of 2SLGBTQI+ individuals.

Additionally, team members continued their 27-year tradition of supporting Harvest Manitoba by harvesting vegetables from the Harvest Garden.

YWG also took the opportunity to honor National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by welcoming Teekca’s Boutique, a local Indigenous retailer, into the terminal.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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