Québec City, March 27, 2020 – Over the past two weeks, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) has deployed extraordinary measures in response to the global pandemic that is hitting the air transport industry particularly hard.
“While the situation is changing from day to day, and even from hour to hour, our role and our priorities have not changed: to help our passengers, from here and abroad, get home safely,” stated Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of YQB. “I would sincerely like to thank all of the employees at the airport, including YQB’s employees, who have shown an unwavering dedication to our travellers. I applaud the commitment of everyone who is helping alleviate the concerns about getting our passengers home,” he said.
Affected operations require tough decisions
As a result of the announced border closure, YQB is expected to see only a few hundred passengers at most each day. For the months of March and April, this could equate to an 85% drop in passengers compared to forecasts, not to mention a substantial loss of revenue.
All airports have been hit hard by COVID-19. The Canadian Airports Council estimates that they will be facing a 55–70% drop in traffic between March and June 2020, with a 28–42% decline for the year as a whole. COVID-19 is expected to be responsible for $1.8 to $2.2 billion in lost revenue in 2020 due to its impact on travel.
The YQB team is working tirelessly to find innovative solutions that allow it to continue operating in this challenging environment. Not only has it significantly reduced its operating expenses, but unfortunately it has had to resort to some 40 temporary layoffs for employees whose services are no longer required given the significant scaling back of airport operations.
An essential service
Under its ground lease with Transport Canada, YQB is required to actively manage, operate and maintain its runways and facilities at all times, as long as demand requires. Unless otherwise specified, the team must also provide a minimum level of service, even if it’s only for emergencies and the transportation of essential goods.
On track for recovery
While the pandemic is hitting the air transport industry hard, YQB remains focused on the future beyond COVID-19 and the central role that the organization must play as a driver of economic development for our region.
“YQB is a strong organization and we are well positioned on the market. We are staying positive when we look to the future. Once this pandemic is behind us, we will work hard to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves,” concluded Poirier.
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.
Advisor, Communications and Media Relations
Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
Phone: 418-640‑2700, ext. 2624