QUÉBEC CITY, April 27, 2023 /CNW/ – With the return of passengers in droves, an array of new routes, renewed dining options, a transformation of the commercial area, and a reduction in estimated losses, not to mention improved operational agility and consolidated alliances, there is no question that 2022 is the year when Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) bounced forward and its results exceeded expectations.
Encouraging demand with more route options
YQB has accelerated its development to expand its route options and offer more destinations. Its successful recovery and continued hard work are evidenced by the fact that the airport now offers considerably more routes than it did before the pandemic. It has added direct flights to Europe, Western Canada, and sun destinations; increased its presence at key airline hubs; improved access to major Canadian cities; and welcomed new airlines.
- Air France: three weekly direct flights to Paris in the summer
- Air Transat: new weekly seasonal service to London and resumption of flights to Paris
- Air Canada:
- New routes to Calgary and Vancouver
- New flight to Varadero
- Significant improvement to existing routes
- U.S. airlines: return of routes to New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago
- Sun destinations:
- Return of flights to the South
- Sunwing: new flights to Panama and Honduras
- Flair Airlines: direct flights to Halifax and Edmonton by summer 2023
It is clear that YQB has been successful and that passengers are responding. In fact, while forecasts suggested that the million-passenger mark would be difficult to reach in 2022, some 1.17 million people (+232%) flew into or out of YQB during the year. In comparison, only 353,203 passengers passed through YQB in 2021. This growth is no coincidence. It is the fruit of considerable efforts and promotional investments throughout the year, including a bold advertising campaign that highlighted the benefits of flying out of YQB.
A better-than-expected financial situation
The return of so many passengers, combined with extremely strict financial management, allowed YQB to limit losses to $12.6M in 2022. The total expected losses from the pandemic until the company returns to profitability have dropped from $100 million to $80 million. Of course, YQB is watching the situation closely, but given that it was bracing for the worst, the 2022 numbers are more than satisfactory.
They have also allowed YQB to support a fast recovery by freezing airport improvement fees and general aviation fees for 2023—the sixth year in a row it has done so. As for aeronautical charges, they increased by only 4%, even though inflation has meant a much higher bill for the organization.
Preparing for the worst… and delivering!
For many major airports, recovery was still a laborious process in 2022. The aftershocks of the pandemic, combined with a new operating environment and a labour shortage, has wreaked havoc across the country.
YQB saw that the number of seats on sale for the summer of 2022 was increasing exponentially, so its teams anticipated the issues and began preparing months in advance. Working closely with airlines, handlers, government agencies, and travel service providers, YQB was able to welcome a growing number of travellers throughout the year, all while providing a uniquely warm and personal experience. The YQB team is proud of its ability to keep operations running smoothly despite an especially demanding situation, and deservedly so.
An enhanced passenger experience
Travellers from here and abroad can now enjoy more dining options than ever as they wait for their flights. In fact, they can eat at not one, but two new concessions: the Blaxton Aéroport de Québec bar and restaurant and the Brûlerie Rousseau par Nourcy café. They can also explore the airport’s new exhibition on the Québec Winter Carnival while they wait for their flights. The heart of the terminal has truly been transformed. In addition, the Government of Canada announced $10M in financial aid, allowing the airport to initiate major rehabilitation work on the threashold of Runway 29 and aircraft taxiways in 2023.
“Our airport is growing, offering new services again, and modernizing, and our teams are constantly working to diversify its operations and sources of revenue. Despite the lingering effects of the pandemic and an uncertain economic environment, YQB is doing well and performing beyond expectations. Of course, this success largely comes from the passengers who choose Québec City. The future of YQB will continue to depend on the confidence of its passengers; we will keep seizing every opportunity to serve the people of the greater Québec City area.” – Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
“Our series of achievements in 2022 are a real tour de force for the team. We could not have dreamed of such a rapid and promising recovery without the strength of our employees. As we enter a pivotal period, our airport is continuing to lay the groundwork for even greater success and making the decisions we need to allow YQB to become a place where anything is possible. We are already seeing the results. They fill us with pride and will make our organization even stronger for the future.” – André Boulanger, Chair of the Board, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
About Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
YQB is managed by Aéroport de Québec Inc., a private 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.
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