GREATER MONCTON, NB – 2021 was always uncertain in terms of the anticipated level of passenger activity recovery at the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM). Although YQM was the only New Brunswick airport handling passenger traffic over the first half of the year, the activity remained very weak with only 10% of normal activity levels in the first six months of the year. A stronger recovery over the summer months meant that YQM was able to close the year at 177,040 passengers so slight growth over the prior year’s 173,404 passengers. Still, this remains down 74% compared to pre-COVID 2019 activity levels of 674,406 passengers.
It was also an active year from the cargo perspective with 20,624 metric tons (MT) of cargo shipped in 2021. This was a 247 MT increase over the prior year as a result of strong domestic cargo activity by both Cargojet and FedEx. Although the international cargo activity was very strong for the first 7 months of the year, it at that point stalled due to COVID impacts, only to recover late in the year.
Notwithstanding the pandemic’s impact on passenger activity, the YQM team was able to undertake the rehabilitation of its primary runway 11-29 at a total cost of $8.3 million. This was only possible through the federal government’s financial support of 50% of this cost via its Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP).
Financially, revenues remained significantly depressed over the course of the year but financial support through the federal government’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) and Airport Relief Fund (ARF) greatly assisted in replenishing cash reserves that had been significantly depleted as a result of the pandemic. This support also allowed the airport authority to recall unionized workforce previously affected by layoffs. The airport authority’s 2021 financial results will be presented at the May 13th Annual General Meeting.
Over the course of 2021, YQM was not authorized to accept international flights and remains one of only 13 smaller airports still impacted by these federal government restrictions. This unfortunately has also contributed to the loss of first half of 2022 planned sun charter activity. It is therefore essential that the federal government remove these restrictions and allow YQM to accommodate international flights to allow us an eventual recovery of passenger traffic and offerings to the public.
Fortunately, all scheduled service airline operators remain active at YQM and although no sun charter flight activity will be operated by Sunwing and Air Transat in the first half of 2022, we continue to see activity by airline partners:
- Air Canada to Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL)
- WestJet to Toronto (YYZ)
- Porter to Ottawa (YOW) then onto Toronto Island (YTZ)
- PAL Airlines to Deer Lake (YDF) then onto St John’s (YYT), Newfoundland, as well as to Wabush (YWK), Ottawa (YOW) and Halifax (YHZ)
As these schedules are all subject to change, the most up-to-date schedule can be seen on: https://cyqm.ca/flight-info/flights/.
About Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM)
YQM is a progressive airport and the leading airport in the central Maritimes. 24/7/365 – everyone associated with the airport strives to provide
superior air service to passengers travelling all over the world and to the global cargo industry -safe, convenient, efficient, bilingual and
YQM also strives to maximize its contribution to local and regional economic and community development – it currently drives over $665 million
of economic activity annually, making it one of the top private-sector economic contributors to New Brunswick’s economy.
Your economy. Your airport.
For more information:
Bernard LeBlanc, President & CEO