GREATER MONCTON, NB – Last week, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced $4.8 million of funding for YQM under its Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) to provide operating assistance to mitigate economic hardships resulting from COVID-19, improve chances of the air transportation sector survival, and better prepare for recovery.
This funding is in addition to the $1.88 million of support announced on July 2nd via the federal Airport Relief Fund (ARF). As well, the airport has been able to leverage support through the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program ($920K in 2020 and $664k so far in 2021). The federal government has also waived YQM’s need to pay rent under its ground lease from March 2020 until December 2023. This represents over half a million per year in payments over the course of a normal passenger traffic year.
In 2021, YQM has also been able to participate in the federal Airport Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) which allowed it to undertake resurfacing of its runway 11-29 this year with $3.9 million of funding available via this program. This project is already well on its way to completion. ACAP is also funding the purchase of an Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle costing over $1 million. The airport is also able to apply for funding under this same program for 2022 eligible infrastructure initiatives.
This significant level of financial support by the federal government is key to ensuring the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport’s long term financial sustainability in view of the impact of the pandemic, and for this we thank our local MP’s Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Minister Dominic LeBlanc, and their federal counterparts Minister Mélanie Joly and Minister Omar Alghabra.
Over the 12-month period of June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021 YQM saw just over 75,000 passengers. This is a far cry from our 2019 annual traffic of 674,406 (Less than 12%). Over the course of 2020 YQM reported a loss of $6.5 million and depleted its cash reserves by $3.8 million. Passenger traffic is essential to ensure YQM’s financial recovery and a return of its revenue base.
The summer 2021 reopening of New Brunswick borders and move to a Green phase in pandemic recovery is showing great signs of hope. The July 2021 passenger traffic at YQM was 16,662 which although only 27% of the July 2019 traffic, it is more than double the June 2021 prior month traffic of 7,944 passengers.
YQM is also excited to see the recent return of WestJet and growth of Air Canada presence and activity over the summer months and looks forward to Porter Airline’s return on September 17th. PAL Airlines initiation of activity at YQM mid-pandemic in September 2020, has been a great addition to the airport’s network now serving five (5) direct routes (St John’s, Deer Lake, Wabush in Newfoundland, as well as Halifax and Ottawa).
With the gradual restart of transborder and international activity YQM anticipates an eventual return to our normal levels of activity and financial prosperity, although a full recovery could be years away.
In February 2022, the return of sun charter activity is also to take place with five flights per week being offered by Air Transat (Cancun Mexico, Orlando Florida, Varadero Cuba, and 2 flights per week to Punta Cana Dominican Republic) and a six flights per week offered by Sunwing (Cancun Mexico, Montego Bay Jamaica, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata Dominican Republic, and 2 flights per week to Varadero Cuba) until May 2022.
“The gradual recovery of passenger activity at YQM as seen through our July traffic uptick is a very positive sign but the federal government’s financial support during this recovery period remains essential and is greatly welcome and appreciated.”, stated airport CEO Bernard LeBlanc.
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 businesslike.
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 and CEO
Greater Moncton International Airport Authority
506-856-5440 or 506-380-3411