QUÉBEC CITY, April 29, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – The airline industry is certainly one of the most vulnerable, and the financial results released by Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) today do reflect the harsh consequences of the pandemic. However, they also reflect the hard work of its teams and their determination to transform the pandemic into a lever for growth and repositioning.
Despite reducing its fixed costs by one third, YQB will have absorbed losses of $26.7 million in 2020; it estimates that those losses will amount to some $100 million by the time it returns to profitability. In terms of passenger traffic, the reality proved even more brutal than the worst-case forecast. YQB ended 2020 with a total of 535,111 passengers, compared to 1,789,005 in 2019. What’s more, the airport authority predicts that passenger levels will actually hit rock bottom in 2021, when barely 100,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport’s doors. Based on forecasts by industry experts, traffic at YQB likely won’t return to 2019 levels for at least five years.
“This pandemic has clearly affected every area of our business. The airport has needed to tighten its belt and make difficult decisions. It’s true that we have little control over our industry’s trajectory as we emerge from the global pandemic. However, we were—and are—in the best position to think about how we can emerge from this ordeal stronger than ever, equipped with levers to generate growth,” stated Lise Lapierre, outgoing Chair of YQB’s Board of Directors.
Last December, YQB unveiled a plan to revive airport operations and diversify its activities and revenues while strengthening its role as a driver of regional economic development. This plan, which is based on five key projects, has the potential to strengthen and improve the economy of not just the Québec City area, but all of northern and eastern Québec. The five key projects involve:
- Optimizing the catchment area
- Consolidating regional air services
- Setting up an intermodal logistics platform
- Developing an airport industrial park
- Opening an American Customs pre-clearance centre
“The air transportation industry is probably one of the hardest hit by the current crisis. We were the first to be grounded and will likely be the last to take off again. In the meantime, we are working tirelessly to prepare for recovery so that our airport can quickly regain the momentum that was so abruptly brought to a halt. Until we know when recovery will be possible, we will be actively working on the how,” added President and CEO Stéphane Poirier.
During the airport’s annual general meeting (AGM), the Board of Directors nominated former Vice-Chair André Boulanger as the new Chair. Mr. Boulanger has been a director since 2019. He is replacing Ms. Lapierre, the first woman to hold the position, as she has completed the last of the three terms permitted by the governance rules. YQB would like to sincerely thank Ms. Lapierre for her unwavering dedication and attention to detail.
“Over the past year, our organization has been doing everything in its power to turn challenges into opportunities. We rolled up our sleeves in 2020 to ensure we had a successful recovery plan for our region, and the coming months will be critical to ensure that the plan is funded and comes to fruition. We will need to continue relying on teamwork and the region’s driving forces to support a sustainable recovery,” concluded Mr. Boulanger.
- 70% decrease in passenger traffic in 2020 (535,111 passengers compared to 1,789,005 passengers in 2019)
- Barely 100,000 passengers expected at YQB in 2021
- At least five years needed to reach 2019 passenger traffic levels
- 59.7% decrease in revenues in 2020, resulting in a $26.7M deficit
- Losses expected to reach $100M before profitability is restored
About Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
YQB is managed by Aéroport de Québec Inc., a non-profit, non-share capital corporation responsible for the airport’s management, operation, maintenance, and development since November 1, 2000. Around a dozen carriers offer flights from YQB to destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe, and daily flights to the main hubs in eastern North America.
SOURCE Aéroport de Québec