Québec City, June 22, 2020 – 2019 was a pivotal year for Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB). It celebrated an 18th consecutive year of growth, a new record of 1,789,005 passengers, a significant improvement in its air service, a change in senior management, a markedly more agile organizational structure, and a new strategic plan focused on diversifying revenue streams. Not to mention the largest construction project in the airport’s history, which was successfully completed on time and on budget.
As part of its annual general meeting, the organization was asked to reflect on the past year. It can confidently say that it’s proud of its journey and its successful transition. YQB is delighted to have been named best airport in North America in its category by Airport Service Quality. The organization also welcomed seasoned directors to its Board of Directors and now boasts a team with near-equal gender representation that balances experience and fresh perspectives. What’s more, for the first time in its history, the board is chaired by a woman. Lise Lapierre is a veteran manager who intends to build a sustainable recovery through teamwork and regional strengths.
Financially, revenues reached $70.3 million and expenses $64.9 million, resulting in a surplus of $5.4 million. This surplus is despite the expenses associated with completing the new terminal building which must now be amortized. YQB is managed by a private non-profit corporation, so all surpluses are reinvested in airport development.
Naturally, the global pandemic, which has hit Québec and Canada hard, has slowed YQB’s momentum. However, 2020 started off with a bang: the airport welcomed record numbers of passengers in January and February. Those months experienced 6.8% and 9.1% growth, respectively, over the previous year.
Then the pandemic hit. The resulting border closures caused YQB’s flights to evaporate and its revenue to plummet by 90% in the space of two weeks, even though the airport’s status as an essential service means that it still has to cover 60% of its expenses. As a result, the forecast for 2020 is now estimated at 600,000 passengers, subject to the reopening of borders, the spread of the virus worldwide, scientific discoveries, airline business strategies, and the willingness of people to travel by air. Forecasts by the industry and the airport’s management state that passenger traffic will not return to 2019 levels until 2023 or 2024.
Ready to bounce back… when the time comes
While the aviation industry was the first to be affected by COVID-19 and will likely be one of the last to return to normal, YQB’s team is readying itself for the resumption of airport activities. It’s working closely with the relevant authorities, airlines, and all of its other stakeholders to establish additional health measures and implement new protocols so that passengers can travel safely. One thing is certain: the organization will spare no effort to work with the authorities, become a facilitator, and ensure the highest health and safety standards possible.
Quotes (translated from French)
“Our tremendous work over the past few years has given us a solid foundation, a clear vision, and an effective organizational structure that allows us to continue our development. These factors have granted us the agility we needed to manage this global crisis. Today, as I leave the organization at the end of my three terms, I feel confident that YQB has the tools it needs to succeed and ensure its future.”
- Jean-Claude Labbé, outgoing Chair of YQB’s Board of Directors
“While the situation has changed within just a few weeks, it is clear that we’re in a better position to meet the challenges of this pandemic. In fact, the diversification of our activities and revenue streams—an objective to which we are deeply committed—has become more important than ever. We are working hard to regain our momentum through a clear vision and projects that can accelerate recovery.”
- Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO
“We will bounce back and make YQB an airport of choice by fostering a human element that is as ambitious as its region, connected to the needs of its passengers, and a source of pride for the entire population. The success of our recovery depends on continued collaboration with all of our stakeholders in the region.”
- Lise Lapierre, Chair of YQB’s Board of Directors
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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Advisor, Communications and Media Relations
Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
Phone: 418-640‑2700, ext. 2624