Winnipeg’s airport continues pandemic bounce back

More than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a travel decline, traffic at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is starting to bounce back.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) released its third-quarter report on Tuesday, showing that the past three months have been their busiest in the past two-and-a-half years.

The report shows 955,467 people travelled through the Winnipeg airport between July and September, which is 23 per cent higher than the next busiest quarterly passenger total since the start of the pandemic.

“We’re excited about the last three months, and the recovery and the trajectory there,” said Nick Hays, president and CEO of the WAA “The last three months were really, really exciting. We’re continuing to provide, essentially, more people with the opportunity to connect with the people in places that they love to visit.”

The WAA said the surge in traffic is primarily the result of pent-up demand for travel and said the recent numbers have helped the airport move to within 78 per cent of the pre-pandemic numbers registered in 2019.

Hays cited a new WestJet direct flight from Winnipeg to Los Angeles as one of the positive developments the airport has seen. He adds there is room for optimism as the airport heads towards the end of the year and into 2023.

“We’ve learned in the pandemic, things can shift very, very quickly. And you’ve got to remain agile, you’ve got to remain responsive to the conditions as they evolve; we certainly learned that through the pandemic,” he said. “One of the things that we do is we’re constantly collaborating with all of our stakeholders here, to ensure that we’re as prepared as we can be for anything that might change, so we can continue to provide that safe, healthy experience, an environment for travellers, and a really positive experience coming to the airport.”

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